THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARY

COLLECTIONS

THE ANTE-NICENE FATHERS
VOLUME 2
Edited by A. Roberts and J Donaldson

B o o k s Fo r Th e A g e s
AGES Software • Albany, OR USA
Version 2.0 © 1997
2

THE

ANTE-NICENE FATHERS
The Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325
THE REV. ALEXANDER ROBERTS, D.D.,
AND

JAMES DONALDSON, LL.D.,
EDITORS

AMERICAN REPRINT OF THE EDINBURGH EDITION
printed July, 1975

VOLUME 2
FATHERS OF THE SECOND CENTURY:
HERMAS
TATIAN
ATHENAGORAS
THEOPHILUS
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (ENTIRE)

AGES Software
Albany, Oregon
© 1996, 1997
3

FATHERS OF

THE SECOND CENTURY
HERMAS, TATIAN, ATHENAGORAS,
THEOPHILUS, AND CLEMENT OF
ALEXANDRIA (ENTIRE).

AMERICAN EDITION
Chronologically Arranged, With Notes, Prefaces, And Elucidations,

BY

A. CLEVELAND COXE, D.D.

Ta< ajrcai~a e]qh kratei>tw.
The Nicene Council
4

CONTENTS OF VOLUME 2
1. THE PASTOR O F HERMAS
2. TATIAN . ADDRESS T O T HE GREEKS
3. THEOPHILUS . T HEOPHILUS T O AUTOLYCUS
4. ATHENAGORAS. A P LEA FOR T HE CHRISTIANS
T HE RESURRECTION OF T HE DEAD
5. CLEMENT O F ALEXANDRIA. EXHORTATION T O T HE HEATHEN
T HE INSTRUCTOR
T HE STROMATA , OR M ISCELLANIES
FRAGMENTS
WHO IS T HE RICH M AN T HAT SHALL BE SAVED?
5

THE PASTOR OF HERMAS
INTRODUCTORY NOTE

TO

THE PASTOR OF HERMAS
[TRANSLATED BY THE REV. F. CROMBIE, M.A.]
[A.D. 160] The fragment known as the “Muratorian Canon” is the historic
ground for the date I give to this author. I desired to prefix The Shepherd
to the writings of Irenaeus, but the limits of the volume would not permit.
The Shepherd attracted my attention, even in early youth, as a specimen
of primitive romance; but of course it disappointed me, and excited
repugnance. As to its form, it is even now distasteful. But more and more,
as I have studied it, and cleared up the difficulties which surround it, and
the questions it has started, it has become to me a most interesting and
suggestive relic of the primitive age. Dr. Bunsen calls it “a good but dull
novel,” and reminds us of a saying of Niebuhr (Bunsen’s master), that “he
pitied the Athenian Christians for being obliged to hear it read in their
assemblies.” A very natural, but a truly superficial, thought, as I trust I
shall be able to show.
At first sight, Hermas might seem to have little in common with Irenaeus;
and, on many accounts, it would be preferable to pair him with Barnabas.
But I feel sure that chronology forbids, and that the age of Irenaeus, and of
the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, is the period which called for this work,
and which accounts for its popularity and its diffusion among the
churches. Its pacific spirit in dealing with a rising heresy, which at first
was a puzzle to the Latins, which Pius was disposed to meet by this
gentle antidote, with which Eleutherus, in the spirit of a pacificator,
tampered to his own hurt, and by which Victor was temporarily
6
compromised, met precisely what the case seemed to demand in the
judgment of Western Christians. They could not foresee the results of
Montanism: it was not yet a defined heresy. And even the wise prudence
of Irenaeus shows anxiety not too hastily to denounce it; “seeing,” as
Eusebius affirms, “there were many other wonderful powers of divine
grace yet exhibited, even at that time, in different churches.”
Bunsen pronounces magisterially on the Muratorian fragment as an ill-
translated excerpt from Hegesippus, written about A.D. 165. This date
may be inaccurate, but the evidence is that of a contemporary on which we
may rely. “Very recently,” he says, “in our own times, in the city of
Rome, Hermas compiled The Shepherd; his brother, Bishop Pius, then
sitting in the cathedra of the Roman Church.” With the period thus
assigned, the internal evidence agrees. It accounts for the and-Montanism
of the whole allegory, and not less for the choice of this non-controversial
form of antidote. Montanism is not named; but it is opposed by a
reminder of better “prophesyings,” and by setting the pure spirit of the
apostolic age over against the frenzied and pharisaical pretensions of the
fanatics. The pacific policy at first adopted by the Roman bishops,
dictated, no doubt, this effort of Hermas to produce such refutation as his
brother might commend to the churches.
Let me present, in outline, the views which seem to me necessary to a
good understanding of the work; and as I am so unfortunate as to differ
with the Edinburgh editors, who are entitled, prima facie, to be supposed
correct, I shall venture to apologize for my own conceptions, by a few
notes and elucidations.
As Eusebius informs us, the charismata were not extinct in the churches
when the Phrygian imitations began to puzzle the faithful. Bunsen
considers its first propagators specimens of the clairvoyant art, and
pointedly cites the manipulations they were said to practice (like persons
playing on the harp), in proof of this. We must place ourselves in those
times to comprehend the difficulties of early Christians in dealing with the
counterfeit. “Try the spirits,” said St. John; and St. Paul had said more
expressly, “Quench not the Spirit; despise not prophesyings; prove all
things,” etc. This very expression suggests that there might often be
something despicable in the form and manner of uttering what was
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excellent. To borrow a phrase of our days, “the human element” was
painfully predominant at times, even among those who spoke by the
Spirit. The smoke of personal infirmity discolored genuine scintillations
from hearts in which still smoldered the fire of Pentecostal gifts. The
reticence of Irenaeus is therefore not to be marveled at. He cautioned
Eleutherus no doubt, but probably felt, with him, that the rumors from
Phrygia needed further examination. The prophetic gifts were said to be
lodged in men and women austere as John the Baptist, and professing a
mission to rebuke the carnal and self-indulged degeneracy of a generation
that knew not the apostles.
It would not be a very bold conjecture, that Hermas and his brother were
elderly grandchildren of the original Hermas, the friend of St. Paul. The
Shepherd, then, might be based upon personal recollections, and upon the
traditions of a family which the spirit of prophecy had reproved, and who
were monuments of its power. The book supplies us with evidences of the
awakened conscience with which Hermas strove to “bless his household.”
But, be this as it may, this second Hermas, with his brother’s
approbation, undertakes to revive the memory of those primal days
portrayed in the Epistle to Diognetus, when Christians, though sorrowful,
were “always rejoicing.” He compiles accordingly a non-metrical idyll;
reproducing, no doubt, traditional specimens of those “prophesyings,” on
which St. Paul remarks. Hence we infer, that such outpourings as became
the subject of apostolic censure, when they confused the order of the
Corinthian Church, were, in their nobler examples, such “visions,”
“mandates” and “similitudes” as these; more or less human as to form, but,
in their moral teachings, an impressive testimony against heathen oracles,
and their obscene or blasphemous suggestions.
The permissive wisdom of the Spirit granting, while restraining, such
manifestations, is seen in thus counterbalancing Sibylline and other ethnic
utterances. (Acts 16:16-19.) With this in view, Hermas makes his
compilation. He casts it into an innocent fiction, as Cowper wrote in the
name of Alexander Selkirk, and introduces Hermas and Clement to identify
the times which are idealized in his allegory. Very gently, but forcibly,
therefore, he brings back the original Christians as antagonists of the
Montanistic opinions; and so exclusively does this idea predominate in the
whole work, as Tertullian’s scornful comment implies, that one wonders
8
to find Wake, with other very learned men, conceding that the Pauline
Hermas was its actual author. Were it so, he must have been a prophet
indeed. No doubt those of the ancients who knew nothing of the origin of
the work, and accepted it as the production of the first Hermas, were
greatly influenced by this idea. It seemed to them a true oracle from God,
like those of the Apocalypse, though sadly inferior; preparing the Church
for one of its great trials and perils, and fulfilling, as did the Revelation of
St. John, that emphatic promise concerning the Spirit, “He shall show you
things to come.”
This view of the subject, moreover, explains historical facts which have
been so unaccountable to many critics; such as the general credit it
obtained, and that its influence was greater in the East than among Latins.
But once commended to the Asiatic churches by Pius, as a useful
instruction for the people, and a safeguard against the Phrygian excesses, it
would easily become current whenever the Greek language prevailed. Very
soon it would be popularly regarded as the work of the Pauline Hermas,
and as embodying genuine prophesyings of the apostolic age. A qualified
inspiration would thus be attributed to them, precisely such as the guarded
language of Origen suggested afterwards: hence the deutero-canonical
repute of the book, read, like the Apocrypha, for instruction and
edification, but not cited to establish any doctrine as of the faith. It must
be remembered, that, although the Roman Church was at first a Grecian
colony, and largely composed of those Hellenistic Jews to whom St.
Paul’s arguments in his Epistle to the Romans were personally
appropriate, yet in the West, generally, it was not so: hence the greater
diffusion of The Shepherd written in Greek, through the Greek churches.
There, too, the Montanists were a raging pestilence long before the West
really felt the contagion through the influence of the brilliant Tertullian.
These facts account for the history of the book, its early currency and
credit in the Church. Nor must we fail to observe, that the tedious
allegorizing of Hermas, though not acceptable to us, was by no means
displeasing to Orientals. To this day, the common people, even with us,
seem to be greatly taken with story-telling and “similitudes,” especially
when there is an interpreter to give them point and application.
After reading Irenaeus Against Heresies, then, we may not inappropriately
turn to this mild protest against the most desolating and lasting delusion of
9
primitive times. Most bitterly this will be felt when we reach the great
founder of “Latin Christianity,” whose very ashes breathed contagion into
the life of such as handled his relics with affection, save only those, who,
like Cyprian, were gifted with a character as strong as his own. The genius
of Tertullian inspired his very insanity with power, and, to the discipline
of the Latin churches, he communicated something of the rigor of
Montanism, with the natural reactionary relaxation of morals in actual life.
Of this, we shall learn enough when we come to read the fascinating pages
of that splendid but infatuated author. Montanism itself, and the Encratite
heresy which we are soon to consider in the melancholy case of Tatian,
were reactions from those abominations of the heathen with which
Christians were daily forced to be conversant. These Fathers erred through
a temptation in which Satan was “transformed as an angel of light.” Let us
the more admire the penetrating foresight, and the holy moderation, of
Hermas. To our scornful age, indeed, glutted with reading of every sort,
and alike over-cultivated and superficial, taking little time for thought, and
almost as little for study, The Shepherd can furnish nothing attractive. He
who brings nothing to it, gets nothing from it. But let the fastidious who
desire at the same time to be competent judges, put themselves into the
times of the Antonines, and make themselves, for the moment, Christians
of that period, and they will awaken to a new world of thought. Let such
go into the assemblies of the primitive faithful, in which it was evident
that “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many
noble, were called.” Then they were, “as sheep appointed to be slain,”
“dying daily,” and, like their blessed Master, “the scorn of men, and
outcast of the people,” as they gathered on the day of the Lord to “eat of
that bread, and drink of that cup.” After the manner of the synagogue,
there came a moment when the “president” said, “Brethren, if ye have any
word of exhortation for the people, say on.” But the tongues were ceasing,
as the apostle foretold; and they who professed to speak by the Spirit
were beginning to be doubted. “Your fathers, where are they? and the
prophets, do they live forever?” It was gratifying to the older men, and
excited the curiosity of the young, when the reader stood up, and said,
“Hear, then, the words of Hermas.” Blessed were the simple folk, those
“lambs among wolves,” who hungered and thirsted after righteousness, and
who eagerly drank in the pure and searching Scriptural morality of The
10
Shepherd, and then went forth to “shine as lights in the world,” in holy
contrast with the gross darkness that surrounded them.
It has been objected, indeed, that the morals of Hermas have a legalizing
tone. The same is said of St. James, and the Sermon on the Mount. Most
unjustly and cruelly is this objection made to The Shepherd. Granted its
language is not formulated after Augustine, as it could not be: its text is St.
James, but, like St. James, harmonized always with St. Paul. Faith is
always honored in its primary place; and penitence, in its every evangelical
aspect, is thoroughly defined. He exposes the emptiness of formal works,
such as mere physical fastings, and the carnal observance of set times and
days. That in one instance he favors “works of supererogation” is an entire
mistake, made by reading into the words of Hermas a heresy of which he
never dreamed. His whole teaching conflicts with such a thought. His
orthodoxy in other respects, is sustained by such masters as Pearson and
Bull. And then, the positive side of his teaching is a precious testimony to
the godly living exacted of believers in the second century. How suitable to
all times are the maxims he extracts from the New Law. How searching his
exposure of the perils of lax family discipline, and of wealth unsanctified.
What heavenly precepts of life he lays down for all estates of men. To the
clergy, what rules he prescribes against ambition and detraction and
wordly-mindedness. Surely such reproofs glorify the epoch, when they
who had cast off, so recently, the lusts and passions of heathenism, were,
as the general acceptance of this book must lead us to suppose, eager to be
fed with “truth, severe in rugged fiction drest.”
But the reader will now be eager to examine the following INTRODUCTORY
NOTICE of the translator: —
The Pastor of Hermas was one of the most popular books, if not the most
popular book, in the Christian Church during the second, third, and fourth
centuries. It occupied a position analogous in some respects to that of
Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in modern times; and critics have frequently
compared the two works.
In ancient times two opinions prevailed in regard to the authorship. The
most widely spread was, that the Pastor of Hermas was the production of
the Hermas mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans. Origen states this
opinion distinctly, and it is repeated by Eusebius and Jerome.
11
Those who believed the apostolic Hermas to be the author, necessarily
esteemed the book very highly; and there was much discussion as to
whether it was inspired or not. The early writers are of opinion that it was
really inspired. Irenaeus quotes it as Scripture; Clemens Alexandrinus
speaks of it as making its statements “divinely;” and Origen, though a few
of his expressions are regarded by some as implying doubt,
unquestionably gives it as his opinion that it is “divinely inspired.”
Eusebius mentions that difference of opinion prevailed in his day as to the
inspiration of the book, some opposing its claims, and others maintaining
its divine origin, especially because it formed an admirable introduction to
the Christian faith. For this latter reason it was read publicly, he tells us,
in the churches.
The only voice of antiquity decidedly opposed to the claim is that of
Tertullian. He designates it apocryphal, and rejects it with scorn, as
favoring and-Montanistic opinions. Even his words, however, show that it
was regarded in many churches as Scripture.
The second opinion as to the authorship is found in no writer of any
name. It occurs only in two places: a poem falsely ascribed to Tertullian,
and a fragment published by Muratori, on the Canon, the authorship of
which is unknown, and the original language of which is still a matter of
dispute. The fragment says, “The Pastor was written very lately in our
times, in the city of Rome, by Hermas, while Bishop Pius, his brother, sat
in the chair of the Church of the city of Rome.”
A third opinion has had advocates in modern times. The Pastor of Hermas
is regarded as a fiction, and the person Hermas, who is the principal
character, is, according to this opinion, merely the invention of the fiction-
writer.
Whatever opinion critics may have in regard to the authorship, there can
be but one opinion as to the date. The Pastor of Hermas must have been
written at an early period. The fact that it was recognized by Irenaeus as
Scripture shows that it must have been in circulation long before his time.
The most probable date assigned to its composition is the reign of
Hadrian, or of Antoninus Pius.
12
The work is very important in many respects; but especially as reflecting
the tone and style of books which interested and instructed the Christians
of the second and third centuries.
The Pastor of Hermas was written in Greek. It was well known in the
Eastern Churches: it seems to have been but little read in the Western. Yet
the work bears traces of having been written in Italy.
For a long time the Pastor of Hermas was known to scholars only in a
Latin version, occurring in several MSS. with but slight variations. But
within recent times the difficulty of settling the text has been increased by
the discovery of various MSS. A Latin translation has been edited, widely
differing from the common version. Then a Greek MS. was said to have
been found in Mount Athos, of which Simonides affirmed that he brought
away a portion of the original and a copy of the rest. Then a MS. of the
Pastor of Hermas was found at the end of the Sinaitic Codex of
Tischendorf. And in addition to all these, there is an Aethiopic translation.
The discussion of the value of these discoveries is one of the most difficult
that can fall to the lot of critics; for it involves not merely an examination
of peculiar forms of words and similar criteria, but an investigation into
statements made by Simonides and Tischendorf respecting events in their
own lives. But whatever may be the conclusions at which the critic arrives,
the general reader does not gain or lose much. In all the Greek and Latin
forms the Pastor of Hermas is substantially the same. There are many
minute differences; but there are scarcely any of importance, — perhaps
we should say none.
In this translation the text of Hilgenfeld, which is based on the Sinaitic
Codex, has been followed.
The letters Vat. mean the Vatican manuscript, the one from which the
common or vulgate version was usually printed.
The letters Pal. mean the Palatine manuscript edited by Dressel, which
contains the Latin version, differing considerably from the common
version.
The letters Lips. refer to the Leipzig manuscript, partly original and partly
copied, furnished by Simonides from Athos. The text of Anger and
13
Dindorf (Lips., 1856) has been used, though reference has also been made
to the text of Tischendorf in Dressel.
The letters Sin. refer to the Sinaitic Codex, as given in Dressel and in
Hilgenfeld’s notes.
The letters Aeth. refer to the Aethiopic version, edited, with a Latin
translation, by Antonius D’Abbadie. Leipzig, 1860.
No attempt has been made to give even a tithe of the various readings.
Only the most important have been noted.
[It is but just to direct the reader’s attention to an elaborate article of Dr.
Donaldson, in the (London) Theological Review, vol. xiv. p. 564; in which
he very ingeniously supports his opinions with regard to Hermas, and also
touching the Muratorian Canon. In one important particular he favors my
own impression; viz., that The Shepherd is a compilation, traditional, or
reproduced from memory. He supposes its sentiments “must have been
expressed in innumerable oral communications delivered in the churches
throughout the world.”]
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THE PASTOR
BOOK FIRST. — VISIONS

VISION FIRST
AGAINST FILTHY AND PROUD THOUGHTS, AND THE
CARELESSNESS OF HERMAS IN CHASTISING HIS SONS

CHAPTER 1

He who had brought me up, sold me to one Rhode in Rome. Many years
after this I recognized her, and I began to love her as a sister. Some time
after, I saw her bathe in the river Tiber; and I gave her my hand, and drew
her out of the river. The sight of her beauty made me think with myself, “I
should be a happy man if I could but get a wife as handsome and good as
she is.” This was the only thought that passed through me: this and
nothing more. A short time after this, as I was walking on my road to the
villages, and magnifying the creatures of God, and thinking how
magnificent, and beautiful, and powerful they are, I fell asleep. And the
Spirit carried me away, and took me through a pathless place, through
which a man could not travel, for it was situated in the midst of rocks; it
was rugged and impassable on account of water. Having passed over this
river, I came to a plain. I then bent down on my knees, and began to pray
to the Lord and to confess my sins. And as I prayed, the heavens were
opened, and I see the woman whom I had desired saluting me from the
sky, and saying, “Hail, Hermas!” And looking up to her, I said, “Lady,
what doest thou here?” And she answered me, “I have been taken up here
to accuse you of your sins before the Lord.” “Lady,” said I, “are you to be
the subject of my accusation?” “No,” said she; “but hear the words which
I am going to speak to you. God, who dwells in the heavens, and made out
of nothing the things that exist, and multiplied and increased them on
15
account of His holy Church, is angry with you for having sinned against
me.” I answered her, “Lady, have I sinned against you? How? or when
spoke I an unseemly word to you? Did I not always think of you as a
lady? Did I not always respect you as a sister? Why do you falsely accuse
me of this wickedness and impurity?” With a smile she replied to me,
“The desire of wickedness arose within your heart. Is it not your opinion
that a righteous man commits sin when an evil desire arises in his heart?
There is sin in such a case, and the sin is great,” said she; “for the thoughts
of a righteous man should be righteous. For by thinking righteously his
character is established in the heavens, and he has the Lord merciful to him
in every business. But such as entertain wicked thoughts in their minds are
bringing upon themselves death and captivity; and especially is this the
case with those who set their affections on this world, and glory in their
riches, and look not forward to the blessings of the life to come. For many
will their regrets be; for they have no hope, but have despaired of
themselves and their life. But do thou pray to God, and He will heal thy
sins, and the sins of thy whole house, and of all the saints.”

CHAPTER 2

After she had spoken these words, the heavens were shut. I was
overwhelmed with sorrow and fear, and said to myself, “If this sin is
assigned to me, how can I be saved, or how shall I propitiate God in regard
to my sins, which are of the grossest character? With what words shall I
ask the Lord to be merciful to me? While I was thinking over these things,
and discussing them in my mind, I saw opposite to me a chair, white,
made of white wool, of great size. And there came up an old woman,
arrayed in a splendid robe, and with a book in her hand; and she sat down
alone, and saluted me, “Hail, Hermas!” And in sadness and tears I said to
her, “Lady, hail!” And she said to me, “Why are you downcast, Hermas?
for you were wont to be patient and temperate, and always smiling. Why
are you so gloomy, and not cheerful? I answered her and said, “O Lady, I
have been reproached by a very good woman, who says that I sinned
against her.” And she said, “Far be such a deed from a servant of God. But
perhaps a desire after her has arisen within your heart. Such a wish, in the
case of the servants of God, produces sin. For it is a wicked and horrible
16
wish in an all-chaste and already well-tried spirit to desire an evil deed; and
especially for Hermas so to do, who keeps himself from all wicked desire,
and is full of all simplicity, and of great guilelessness.

CHAPTER 3

“But God is not angry with you on account of this, but that you may
convert your house, which have committed iniquity against the Lord, and
against you, their parents. And although you love your sons, yet did you
not warn your house, but permitted them to be terribly corrupted. On this
account is the Lord angry with you, but He will heal all the evils which
have been done in your house. For, on account of their sins and iniquities,
you have been destroyed by the affairs of this world. But now the mercy
of the Lord has taken pity on you and your house, and will strengthen
you, and establish you in his glory. Only be not easy-minded, but be of
good courage and comfort your house. For as a smith hammers out his
work, and accomplishes whatever he wishes, so shall righteous daily
speech overcome all iniquity. Cease not therefore to admonish your sons;
for I know that, if they will repent with all their heart, they will be
enrolled in the Books of Life with the saints.” Having ended these words,
she said to me, “Do you wish to hear me read?” I say to her, “Lady, I do.”
“Listen then, and give ear to the glories of God.” And then I heard from
her, magnificently and admirably, things which my memory could not
retain. For all the words were terrible, such as man could not endure. The
last words, however, I did remember; for they were useful to us, and
gentle. “Lo, the God of powers, who by His invisible strong power and
great wisdom has created the world, and by His glorious counsel has
surrounded His creation with beauty, and by His strong word has fixed the
heavens and laid the foundations of the earth upon the waters, and by His
own wisdom and providence has created His holy Church, which He has
blessed, lo! He removes the heavens and the mountains, the hills and the
seas, and all things become plain to His elect, that He may bestow on them
the blessing which He has promised them, with much glory and joy, if
only they shall keep the commandments of God which they have received
in great faith.”
17

CHAPTER 4

When she had ended her reading, she rose from the chair, and four young
men came and carried off the chair and went away to the east. And she
called me to herself and touched my breast, and said to me,” Have you
been pleased with my reading?” And I say to her, “Lady, the last words
please me, but the first are cruel and harsh.” Then she said to me, “The
last are for the righteous: the first are for heathens and apostates.” And
while she spoke to me, two men appeared and raised her on their
shoulders, and they went to where the chair was in the east. With joyful
countenance did she depart; and as she went, she said to me, “Behave like
a man, Hermas.”

VISION SECOND
AGAIN, OF HIS NEGLECT IN CHASTISING HIS TALKATIVE
WIFE AND HIS LUSTFUL SONS, AND OF HIS CHARACTER

CHAPTER 1

As I was going to the country about the same time as on the previous
year, in my walk I recalled to memory the vision of that year. And again
the Spirit carried me away, and took me to the same place where I had
been the year before. On coming to that place, I bowed my knees and
began to pray to the Lord, and to glorify His name, because He had
deemed me worthy, and had made known to me my former sins. On rising
from prayer, I see opposite me that old woman, whom I had seen the year
before, walking and reading some book. And she says to me, “Can you
carry a report of these things to the elect of God?” I say to her, “Lady, so
much I cannot retain in my memory, but give me the book and I shall
transcribe it.” “Take it,” says she, “and you will give it back to me.”
Thereupon I took it, and going away into a certain part of the country, I
transcribed the whole of it letter by letter; but the syllables of it I did not
catch. No sooner, however, had I finished the writing of the book, than all
18
of a sudden it was snatched from my hands; but who the person was that
snatched it, I saw not.

CHAPTER 2

Fifteen days after, when I had fasted and prayed much to the Lord, the
knowledge of the writing was revealed to me. Now the writing was to this
effect: “Your seed, O Hermas, has sinned against God, and they have
blasphemed against the Lord, and in their great wickedness they have
betrayed their parents. And they passed as traitors of their parents, and
by their treachery did they not reap profit. And even now they have
added to their sins lusts and iniquitous pollutions, and thus their iniquities
have been filled up. But make known these words to all your children, and
to your wife, who is to be your sister. For she does not restrain her
tongue, with which she commits iniquity; but, on hearing these words, she
will control herself, and will obtain mercy. For after you have made known
to them these words which my Lord has commanded me to reveal to you,
then shall they be forgiven all the sins which in former times they
committed, and forgiveness will be granted to all the saints who have
sinned even to the present day, if they repent with all their heart, and
drive all doubts from their minds. For the Lord has sworn by His glory, in
regard to His elect, that if any one of them sin after a certain day which
has been fixed, he shall not be saved. For the repentance of the righteous
has limits. Filled up are the days of repentance to all the saints; but to the
heathen, repentance will be possible even to the last day. You will tell,
therefore, those who preside over the Church, to direct their ways in
righteousness, that they may receive in full the promises with great glory.
Stand steadfast, therefore, ye who work righteousness, and doubt not, that
your passage may be with the holy angels. Happy ye who endure the
great tribulation that is coming on, and happy they who shall not deny
their own life. For the Lord hath sworn by His Son, that those who denied
their Lord have abandoned their life in despair, for even now these are to
deny Him in the days that are coming. To those who denied in earlier
times, God became gracious, on account of His exceeding tender mercy.
19

CHAPTER 3

“But as for you, Hermas, remember not the wrongs done to you by your
children, nor neglect your sister, that they may be cleansed from their
former sins. For they will be instructed with righteous instruction, if you
remember not the wrongs they have done you. For the remembrance of
wrongs worketh death. And you, Henna, have endured great personal
tribulations on account of the transgressions of your house, because you
did not attend to them, but were careless and engaged in your wicked
transactions. But you are saved, because you did not depart from the
living God, and on account of your simplicity and great self-control. These
have saved you, if you remain steadfast. And they will save all who act in
the same manner, and walk in guilelessness and simplicity. Those who
possess such virtues will wax strong against every form of wickedness,
and will abide unto eternal life. Blessed are all they who practice
righteousness, for they shall never be destroyed. Now you will tell
Maximus: Lo! tribulation cometh on. If it seemeth good to thee, deny
again. The Lord is near to them who return unto Him, as it is written in
Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness.”

CHAPTER 4

Now a revelation was given to me, my brethren, while I slept, by a young
man of comely appearance, who said to me, “Who do you think that old
woman is from whom you received the book?” And I said, “The Sibyl.”
“You are in a mistake,” says he; “it is not the Sibyl.” “Who is it then?”
say I. And he said, “It is the Church.” And I said to him, “Why then is she
an old woman?” “Because,” said he, “she was created first of all. On this
account is she old. And for her sake was the world made.” After that I saw
a vision in my house, and that old woman came and asked me, if I had yet
given the book to the presbyters. And I said that I had not. And then she
said, “You have done well for I have some words to add. But when I finish
all the words, all the elect will then become acquainted with them through
you. You will write therefore two books, and you will send the one to
Clemens and the other to Grapte. And Clemens will send his to foreign
countries, for permission has been granted to him to do so. And Grapte
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will admonish the widows and the orphans. But you will read the words in
this city, along with the presbyters who preside over the Church.

VISION THIRD
CONCERNING THE BUILDING OF THE TRIUMPHANT CHURCH,
AND THE VARIOUS CLASSES OF REPROBATE MEN

CHAPTER 1

The vision which I saw, my brethren, was of the following nature. Having
fasted frequently, and having prayed to the Lord that He would show me
the revelation which He promised to show me through that old woman,
the same night that old woman appeared to me, and said to me, “Since you
are so anxious and eager to know all things, go into the part of the country
where you tarry; and about the fifth hour I shall appear unto you, and
show you all that you ought to see.” I asked her, saying “Lady, into what
part of the country am I to go?” And she said, “Into any part you wish.”
Then I chose a spot which was suitable, and retired. Before, however, I
began to speak and to mention the place, she said to me, “I will come
where you wish.” Accordingly, I went to the country, and counted the
hours, and reached the place where I had promised to meet her. And I see
an ivory seat ready placed, and on it a linen cushion, and above the linen
cushion was spread a covering of fine linen. Seeing these laid out, and yet
no one in the place, I began to feel awe, and as it were a trembling seized
hold of me, and my hair stood on end, and as it were a horror came upon
me when I saw that I was all alone. But on coming back to myself and
calling to mind the glory of God, I took courage, bent my knees, and again
confessed my sins to God as I had done before. Whereupon the old
woman approached, accompanied by six young men whom I had also seen
before; and she stood behind me, and listened to me, as I prayed and
confessed my sins to the Lord. And touching me she said, “Hermas, cease
praying continually for your sins; pray for righteousness, that you may
have a portion of it immediately in your house.” On this, she took me up
by the hand, and brought me to the seat, and said to the young men, “Go
21
and build.” When the young men had gone and we were alone, she said to
me, “Sit here.” I say to her, “Lady, permit my elders to be seated first.”
“Do what I bid you,” said she; “sit down.” When I would have sat down
on her right, she did not permit me, but with her hand beckoned to me to
sit down on the left. While I was thinking about this, and feeling vexed that
she did not let me sit on the right, she said, “Are you vexed, Hermas? The
place to the right is for others who have already pleased God, and have
suffered for His name’s sake; and you have yet much to accomplish before
you can sit with them. But abide as you now do in your simplicity, and
you will sit with them, and with all who do their deeds and bear what they
have borne.”

CHAPTER 2

“What have they borne?” said I. “Listen,” said she: “scourges, prisons,
great tribulations, crosses, wild beasts, for God’s name’s sake. On this
account is assigned to them the division of sanctification on the right hand,
and to every one who shall suffer for God’s name: to the rest is assigned
the division on the left. But both for those who sit on the right, and those
who sit on the left, there are the same gifts and promises; only those sit on
the right, and have some glory. You then are eager to sit on the right with
them, but your shortcomings are many. But you will be cleansed from
your shortcomings; and all who are not given to doubts shall be cleansed
from all their iniquities up till this day.” Saying this, she wished to go
away. But falling down at her feet, I begged her by the Lord that she
would show me the vision which she had promised to show me. And then
she again took hold of me by the hand, and raised me, and made me sit on
the seat to the left; and lifting up a splendid rod, she said to me, “Do you
see something great?” And I say, “Lady, I see nothing.” She said to me,
“Lo! do you not see opposite to you a great tower, built upon the waters,
of splendid square stones?” For the tower was built square by those six
young men who had come with her. But myriads of men were carrying
stones to it, some dragging them from the depths, others removing them
from the land, and they handed them to these six young men. They were
taking them and building; and those of the stones that were dragged out of
the depths, they placed in the building just as they were: for they were
22
polished and fitted exactly into the other stones, and became so united one
with another that the lines of juncture could not be perceived. And in this
way the building of the tower looked as if it were made out of one stone.
Those stones, however, which were taken from the earth suffered a
different fate; for the young men rejected some of them, some they fitted
into the building, and some they cut down, and cast far away from the
tower. Many other stones, however, lay around the tower, and the young
men did not use them in building; for some of them were rough, others had
cracks in them, others had been made too short, and others were white and
round, but did not fit into the building of the tower. Moreover, I saw other
stones thrown far away from the tower, and falling into the public road;
yet they did not remain on the road, but were rolled into a pathless place.
And I saw others falling into the fire and burning, others falling close to the
water, and yet not capable of being rolled into the water, though they
wished to be rolled down, and to enter the water.

CHAPTER 3

On showing me these visions, she wished to retire. I said to her, “What is
the use of my having seen all this, while I do not know what it means?”
She said to me, “You are a cunning fellow, wishing to know everything
that relates to the tower.” “Even so, O Lady,” said I, “that I may tell it to
my brethren, that, hearing this, they may know the Lord in much glory.”
And she said, “Many indeed shall hear, and hearing, some shall be glad,
and some shall weep. But even these, if they hear and repent, shall also
rejoice. Hear, then, the parables of the tower; for I will reveal all to you,
and give me no more trouble in regard to revelation: for these revelations
have an end, for they have been completed. But you will not cease praying
for revelations, for you are shameless. The tower which you see building is
myself, the Church, who have appeared to you now and on the former
occasion. Ask, then, whatever you like in regard to the tower, and I will
reveal it to you, that you may rejoice with the saints.” I said unto her,
“Lady, since you have vouchsafed to reveal all to me this once, reveal it.”
She said to me, “Whatsoever ought to be revealed, will be revealed; only
let your heart be with God, and doubt not whatsoever you shall see.” I
asked her, “Why was the tower built upon the waters, O Lady?” She
23
answered, “I told you before, and you still inquire carefully: therefore
inquiring you shall find the truth. Hear then why the tower is built upon
the waters. It is because your life has been, and will be, saved through
water. For the tower was founded on the word of the almighty and
glorious Name and it is kept together by the invisible power of the Lord.”

CHAPTER 4

In reply I said to her, “This is magnificent and marvelous. But who are the
six young men who are engaged in building?” And she said, “These are the
holy angels of God, who were first created, and to whom the Lord handed
over His whole creation, that they might increase and build up and rule
over the whole creation. By these will the building of the tower be
finished.” “But who are the other persons who are engaged in carrying the
stones?” These also are holy angels of the Lord, but the former six are
more excellent than these. The building of the tower will be finished, and
all will rejoice together around the tower, and they will glorify God,
because the tower is finished.” I asked her, saying, “Lady, I should like to
know what became of the stones, and what was meant by the various
kinds of stones?” In reply she said to me, “Not because you are more
deserving than all others that this revelation should be made to you — for
there are others before you, and better than you, to whom these visions
should have been revealed — but that the name of God may be glorified,
has the revelation been made to you, and it will be made on account of the
doubtful who ponder in their hearts whether these things will be or not.
Tell them that all these things are true, and that none of them is beyond
the truth. All of them are firm and sure, and established on a strong
foundation.

CHAPTER 5

“Hear now with regard to the stones which are in the building. Those
square white stones which fitted exactly into each other, are apostles,
bishops, teachers, and deacons, who have lived in godly purity, and have
acted as bishops and teachers and deacons chastely and reverently to the
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elect of God. Some of them have fallen asleep, and some still remain alive.
And they have always agreed with each other, and been at peace among
themselves, and listened to each other. On account of this, they join
exactly into the building of the tower.” “But who are the stones that were
dragged from the depths, and which were laid into the building and fitted in
with the rest of the stones previously placed in the tower?” “They are
those who suffered for the Lord’s sake.” “But I wish to know, O Lady,
who are the other stones which were carried from the land.” “Those,” she
said, “which go into the building without being polished, are those whom
God has approved of, for they walked in the straight ways of the Lord and
practiced His commandments.” “But who are those who are in the act of
being brought and placed in the building?” “They are those who are young
in faith and are faithful. But they are admonished by the angels to do good,
for no iniquity has been found in them.” “Who then are those whom they
rejected and cast away?” “These are they who have sinned, and wish to
repent. On this account they have not been thrown far from the tower,
because they will yet be useful in the building, if they repent. Those then
who are to repent, if they do repent, will be strong in faith, if they now
repent while the tower is building. For if the building be finished, there will
not be more room for any one, but he will be rejected. This privilege,
however, will belong only to him who has now been placed near the tower.

CHAPTER 6

“As to those who were cut down and thrown far away from the tower, do
you wish to know who they are? They are the sons of iniquity, and they
believed in hypocrisy, and wickedness did not depart from them. For this
reason they are not saved, since they cannot be used in the building on
account of their iniquities. Wherefore they have been cut off and cast far
away on account of the anger of the Lord, for they have roused Him to
anger. But I shall explain to you the other stones which you saw lying in
great numbers, and not going into the building. Those which are rough are
those who have known the truth and not remained in it, nor have they
been joined to the saints. On this account are they unfit for use.” “Who are
those that have rents?” “These are they who are at discord in their hearts
one with another, and are not at peace amongst themselves: they indeed
25
keep peace before each other, but when they separate one from the other,
their wicked thoughts remain in their hearts. These, then, are the rents
which are in the stones. But those which are shortened are those who have
indeed believed, and have the larger share of righteousness; yet they have
also a considerable share of iniquity, and therefore they are shortened and
not whole.” “But who are these, Lady, that are white and round, and yet
do not fit into the building of the tower?” She answered and said, “How
long will you be foolish and stupid, and continue to put every kind of
question and understand nothing? These are those who have faith indeed,
but they have also the riches of this world. When, therefore, tribulation
comes, on account of their riches and business they deny the Lord.” I
answered and said to her, “When, then, will they be useful for the building,
Lady?” “When the riches that now seduce them have been circumscribed,
then will they be of use to God. For as a round stone cannot become
square unless portions be cut off and cast away, so also those who are rich
in this world cannot be useful to the Lord unless their riches be cut down.
Learn this first from your own case. When you were rich, you were
useless; but now you are useful and fit for life. Be ye useful to God; for
you also will be used as one of these stones.

CHAPTER 7

“Now the other stones which you saw cast far away from the tower, and
falling upon the public road and rolling from it into pathless places, are
those who have indeed believed, but through doubt have abandoned the
true road. Thinking, then, that they could find a better, they wander and
become wretched, and enter upon pathless places. But those which fell
into the fire and were burned? are those who have departed for ever from
the living God; nor does the thought of repentance ever come into their
hearts, on account of their devotion to their lusts and to the crimes which
they committed. Do you wish to know who are the others which fell near
the waters, but could not be rolled into them? These are they who have
heard the word, and wish to be baptized in the name of the Lord; but when
the chastity demanded by the truth comes into their recollection, they
draw back, and again walk after their own wicked desires.” She finished her
exposition of the tower. But I, shameless as I yet was, asked her, “Is
26
repentance possible for all those stones which have been cast away and
did not fit into the building of the tower, and will they yet have a place in
this tower?” “Repentance,” said she, “is yet possible, but in this tower
they cannot find a suitable place. But in another and much inferior place
they will be laid, and that, too, only when they have been tortured and
completed the days of their sins. And on this account will they be
transferred, because they have partaken of the righteous Word. And then
only will they be removed from their punishments when the thought of
repenting of the evil deeds which they have done has come into their
hearts. But if it does not come into their hearts, they will not be saved, on
account of the hardness of their heart.”

CHAPTER 8

When then I ceased asking in regard to all these matters, she said to me,
“Do you wish to see anything else?” And as I was extremely eager to see
something more, my countenance beamed with joy. She looked towards
me with a smile, and said, “Do you see seven women around the tower?”
“I do, Lady,” said I. “This tower,” said she, “is supported by them
according to the precept of the Lord. Listen now to their functions. The
first of them, who is clasping her hands, is called Faith. Through her the
elect of God are saved. Another, who has her garments tucked up and acts
with vigor, is called Self-restraint. She is the daughter of Faith. Whoever
then follows her will become happy in his life, because he will restrain
himself from all evil works, believing that, if he restrain himself from all
evil desire, he will inherit eternal life.” “But the others,” said I, “O Lady,
who are they?” And she said to me, “They are daughters of each other.
One of them is called Simplicity, another Guilelessness, another Chastity,
another Intelligence, another Love. When then you do all the works of
their mother, you will be able to live.” “I should like to know,” said I, “O
Lady, what power each one of them possesses.” “Hear,” she said, “what
power they have. Their powers are regulated by each other, and follow
each other in the order of their birth. For from Faith arises Self-restraint;
from Self-restraint, Simplicity; from Simplicity, Guilelessness; from
Guilelessness, Chastity; from Chastity, Intelligence; and from Intelligence,
Love. The deeds, then, of these are pure, and chaste, and divine. Whoever
27
devotes himself to these, and is able to hold fast by their works, shall have
his dwelling in the tower with the saints of God.” Then I asked her in
regard to the ages, if now there is the conclusion. She cried out with a loud
voice, “Foolish man! do you not see the tower yet building? When the
tower is finished and built, then comes the end; and I assure you it will be
soon finished. Ask me no more questions. Let you and all the saints be
content with what I have called to your remembrance, and with my
renewal of your spirits. But observe that it is not for your own sake only
that these revelations have been made to you, but they have been given
you that you may show them to all. For after three days — this you will
take care to remember — I command you to speak all the words which I
am to say to you into the ears of the saints, that hearing them and doing
them, they may be cleansed from their iniquities, and you along with
them.”

CHAPTER 9

Give ear unto me, O Sons: I have brought you up in much simplicity, and
guilelessness, and chastity, on account of the mercy of the Lord, who has
dropped His righteousness down upon you, that ye may be made
righteous and holy from all your iniquity and depravity; but you do not
wish to rest from your iniquity. Now, therefore, listen to me, and be at
peace one with another, and visit each other, and bear each other’s
burdens, and do not partake of God’s creatures alone, but give abundantly
of them to the needy. For some through the abundance of their food
produce weakness in their flesh, and thus corrupt their flesh; while the
flesh of others who have no food is corrupted, because they have not
sufficient nourishment. And on this account their bodies waste away. This
intemperance in eating is thus injurious to you who have abundance and do
not distribute among those who are needy. Give heed to the judgment that
is to come. Ye, therefore, who are high in position, seek out the hungry as
long as the tower is not yet finished; for after the tower is finished, you
will wish to do good, but will find no opportunity. Give heed, therefore,
ye who glory in your wealth, lest those who are needy should groan, and
their groans should ascend to the Lord, and ye be shut out with all your
goods beyond the gate of the tower. Wherefore I now say to you who
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preside over the Church and love the first seats, “Be not like to drug-
mixers. For the drug-mixers carry their drugs in boxes, but ye carry your
drug and poison in your heart. Ye are hardened, and do not wish to cleanse
your hearts, and to add unity of aim to purity of heart, that you may have
mercy from the great King. Take heed, therefore, children, that these
dissensions of yours do not deprive you of your life. How will you
instruct the elect of the Lord, if you yourselves have not instruction?
Instruct each other therefore, and be at peace among yourselves, that I
also, standing joyful before your Father, may give an account of you all to
your Lord.”

CHAPTER 10

On her ceasing to speak to me, those six young men who were engaged in
building came and conveyed her to the tower, and other four lifted up the
seat and carried it also to the tower. The faces of these last I did not see,
for they were turned away from me. And as she was going, I asked her to
reveal to me the meaning of the three forms in which she appeared to me.
In reply she said to me: “With regard to them, you must ask another to
reveal their meaning to you.” For she had appeared to me, brethren, in the
first vision the previous year under the form of an exceedingly old woman,
sitting in a chair. In the second vision her face was youthful, but her skin
and hair betokened age, and she stood while she spoke to me. She was also
more joyful than on the first occasion. But in the third vision she was
entirely youthful and exquisitely beautiful, except only that she had the
hair of an old woman; but her face beamed with joy, and she sat on a seat.
Now I was exceeding sad in regard to these appearances, for I longed much
to know what the visions meant. Then I see the old woman in a vision of
the night saying unto me: “Every prayer should be accompanied with
humility: fast, therefore, and you will obtain from the Lord what you beg.”
I fasted therefore for one day.
That very night there appeared to me a young man, who said, “Why do
you frequently ask revelations in prayer? Take heed lest by asking many
things you injure your flesh: be content with these revelations. Will you be
able to see greater revelations than those which you have seen?” I
answered and said to him, “Sir, one thing only I ask, that in regard to these
29
three forms the revelation may be rendered complete.” He answered me,
“How long are ye senseless? But your doubts make you senseless,
because you have not your hearts turned towards the Lord.” But I
answered and said to him, “From you, sir, we shall learn these things more
accurately.”

CHAPTER 11

“Hear then,” said he, “with regard to the three forms, concerning which
you are inquiring. Why in the first vision did she appear to you as an old
woman seated on a chair? Because your spirit is now old and withered up,
and has lost its power in consequence of your infirmities and doubts. For,
like elderly men who have no hope of renewing their strength, and expect
nothing but their last sleep, so you, weakened by worldly occupations,
have given yourselves up to sloth, and have not cast your cares upon the
Lord. Your spirit therefore is broken, and you have grown old in your
sorrows.” “I should like then to know, sir, why she sat on a chair?” He
answered, “Because every weak person sits on a chair on account of his
weakness, that his weakness may be sustained. Lo! you have the form of
the first vision.

CHAPTER 12

“Now in the second vision you saw her standing with a youthful
countenance, and more joyful than before; still she had the skin and hair of
an aged woman. Hear,” said he, “this parable also. When one becomes
somewhat old, he despairs of himself on account of his weakness and
poverty, and looks forward to nothing but the last day of his life. Then
suddenly an inheritance is left him: and hearing of this, he rises up, and
becoming exceeding joyful, he puts on strength. And now he no longer
reclines, but stands up; and his spirit, already destroyed by his previous
actions, is renewed, and he no longer sits, but acts with vigor. So happened
it with you on hearing the revelation which God gave you. For the Lord
had compassion on you, and renewed your spirit, and ye laid aside your
infirmities. Vigor arose within you, and ye grew strong in faith; and the
30
Lord, seeing your strength, rejoiced. On this account He showed you the
building of the tower; and He will show you other things, if you continue
at peace with each other with all your heart.

CHAPTER 13

“Now, in the third vision, you saw her still younger, and she was noble
and joyful, and her shape was beautiful. For, just as when some good news
comes suddenly to one who is sad, immediately he forgets his former
sorrows, and looks for nothing else than the good news which he has
heard, and for the future is made strong for good, and his spirit is renewed
on account of the joy which he has received; so ye also have received the
renewal of your spirits by seeing these good things. As to your seeing her
sitting on a seat, that means that her position is one of strength, for a seat
has four feet and stands firmly. For the world also is kept together by
means of four elements. Those, therefore, who repent completely and with
the whole heart, will become young and firmly established. You now have
the revelation completely given you. Make no further demands for
revelations. If anything ought to be revealed, it will be revealed to you.”

VISION FOURTH
CONCERNING THE TRIAL AND TRIBULATION
THAT ARE TO COME UPON MEN

CHAPTER 1

Twenty days after the former vision I saw another vision, brethren — a
representation of the tribulation that is to come. I was going to a country
house along the Campanian road. Now the house lay about ten furlongs
from the public road. The district is one rarely traversed. And as I walked
alone, I prayed the Lord to complete the revelations which He had made to
me through His holy Church, that He might strengthen me, and give
repentance to all His servants who were going astray, that His great and
31
glorious name might be glorified because He vouchsafed to show me His
marvels. And while I was glorifying Him and giving Him thanks, a voice,
as it were, answered me, “Doubt not, Hermas;” and I began to think with
myself, and to say, “What reason have I to doubt — I who have been
established by the Lord, and who have seen such glorious sights?” I
advanced a little, brethren, and, lo! I see dust rising even to the heavens. I
began to say to myself, “Are cattle approaching and raising the dust?” It
was about a furlong’s distance from me. And, lo! I see the dust rising more
and more, so that I imagined that it was something sent from God. But the
sun now shone out a little, and, lo! I see a mighty beast like a whale, and
out of its mouth fiery locusts proceeded. But the size of that beast was
about a hundred feet, and it had a head like an urn. I began to weep, and to
call on the Lord to rescue me from it. Then I remembered the word which I
had heard, “Doubt not, O Hermas.” Clothed, therefore, my brethren, with
faith in the Lord and remembering the great things which He had taught
me, I boldly faced the beast. Now that beast came on with such noise and
force, that it could itself have destroyed a city. I came near it, and the
monstrous beast stretched itself out on the ground, and showed nothing
but its tongue, and did not stir at all until I had passed by it. Now the
beast had four colors on its head —.black, then fiery and bloody, then
golden, and lastly white.

CHAPTER 2

Now after I had passed by the wild beast, and had moved forward about
thirty feet, lo! a virgin meets me, adorned as if she were proceeding from
the bridal chamber, clothed entirely in white, and with white sandals, and
veiled up to her forehead, and her head was covered by a hood. And she
had white hair. I knew from my former visions that this was the Church,
and I became more joyful. She saluted me, and said, “Hail, O man!” And I
returned her salutation, and said, “Lady, hail!” And she answered. and said
to me, “Has nothing crossed your path?” I say, “I was met by a beast of
such a size that it could destroy peoples, but through the power of the
Lord and His great mercy I escaped from it.” “Well did you escape from
it,” says she, “because you cast your care on God, and opened your heart
to the Lord, believing that you can be saved by no other than by His great
32
and glorious name. On this account the Lord has sent His angel, who has
rule over the beasts, and whose name is Thegri, and has shut up its mouth,
so that it cannot tear you. You have escaped from great tribulation on
account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of
such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds,
and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is
coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and
turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be
pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of the days of your life in serving
the Lord blamelessly. Cast your cares upon the Lord, and He will direct
them. Trust the Lord, ye who doubt, for He is all-powerful, and can turn
His anger away from you, and send scourges on the doubters. Woe to
those who hear these words, and despise them: better were it for them not
to have been born.”

CHAPTER 3

I asked her about the four colors which the beast had on his head. And she
answered, and said to me, “Again you are inquisitive in regard to such
matters.” “Yea, Lady, said I, “make known to me what they are.”
“Listen,” said she: “the black is the world in which we dwell: but the fiery
and bloody points out that the world must perish through blood and fire:
but the golden part are you who have escaped from this world. For as gold
is tested by fire, and thus becomes useful, so are you tested who dwell in
it. Those, therefore, who continue steadfast, and are put through the fire,
will be purified by means of it. For as gold casts away its dross, so also
will ye cast away all sadness and straitness, and will be made pure so as to
fit into the building of the tower. But the white part is the age that is to
come, in which the elect of God will dwell, since those elected by God to
eternal life will be spotless and pure. Wherefore cease not speaking these
things into the ears of the saints. This then is the type of the great
tribulation that is to come. If ye wish it, it will be nothing. Remember
those things which were written down before.” And saying this, she
departed. But I saw not into what place she retired. There was a noise,
however, and I turned round in alarm, thinking that that beast was coming.
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VISION FIFTH
CONCERNING THE COMMANDMENTS
After I had been praying at home, and had sat down on my couch, there
entered a man of glorious aspect, dressed like a shepherd, with a white
goat’s skin, a wallet on his shoulders, and a rod in his hand, and saluted
me. I returned his salutation. And straightway he sat down beside me, and
said to me, “I have been sent by a most venerable angel to dwell with you
the remaining days of your life.” And I thought that he had come to tempt
me, and I said to him, “Who are you? For I know him to whom I have
been entrusted.” He said to me, “Do you not know me?” “No,” said I. “I,”
said he, “am that shepherd to whom you have been entrusted.” And while
he yet spake, his figure was changed; and then I knew that it was he to
whom I had been entrusted. And straightway I became confused, and fear
took hold of me, and I was overpowered with deep sorrow that I had
answered him so wickedly and foolishly. But he answered, and said to me,
“Do not be confounded, but receive strength from the commandments
which I am going to give you. For I have been sent,” said he, “to show you
again all the things which you saw before, especially those of them which
are useful to you. First of all, then, write down my commandments and
similitudes, and you will write the other things as I shall show you. For
this purpose,” said he, “I command you to write down the commandments
and similitudes first, that you may read them easily, and be able to keep
them.” Accordingly I wrote down the commandments and similitudes,
exactly as he had ordered me. If then, when you have heard these, ye keep
them and walk in them, and practice them with pure minds, you will
receive from the Lord all that He has promised to you. But if, after you
have heard them, ye do not repent, but continue to add to your sins, then
shall ye receive from the Lord the opposite things. All these words did the
shepherd, even the angel of repentance, command me to write.
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BOOK SECOND
COMMANDMENTS
COMMANDMENT FIRST

ON FAITH IN GOD
FIRST of all, believe that there is one God who created and finished all
things, and made all things out of nothing. He alone is able to contain the
whole, but Himself cannot be contained. Have faith therefore in Him, and
fear Him; and fearing Him, exercise self-control. Keep these commands,
and you will cast away from you all wickedness, and put on the strength
of righteousness, and live to God, if you keep this commandment.

COMMANDMENT SECOND

ON AVOIDING EVIL-SPEAKING, AND
ON GIVING ALMS IN SIMPLICITY
He said to me, “Be simple and guileless, and you will be as the children
who know not the wickedness that ruins the life of men. First, then, speak
evil of no one, nor listen with pleasure to any one who speaks evil of
another. But if you listen, you will partake of the sin of him who speaks
evil, if you believe the slander which you hear; for believing it, you will
also have something to say against your brother. Thus, then, will you be
guilty of the sin of him who slanders. For slander is evil and an unsteady
demon. It never abides in peace, but always remains in discord. Keep
yourself from it, and you will always be at peace with all. Put on a
holiness in which there is no wicked cause of offense, but all deeds that are
equable and joyful. Practice goodness; and from the rewards of your
labors, which God gives you, give to all the needy in simplicity, not
hesitating as to whom you are to give or not to give. Give to all, for God
wishes His gifts to be shared amongst all. They who receive, will render an
35
account to God why and for what they have received. For the afflicted
who receive will not be condemned, but they who receive on false
pretenses will suffer punishment. He, then, who gives is guiltless. For as
he received from the Lord, so has he accomplished his service in
simplicity, not hesitating as to whom he should give and to whom he
should not give. This service, then, if accomplished in simplicity, is
glorious with God. He, therefore, who thus ministers in simplicity, will
live to God. Keep therefore these commandments, as I have given them to
you, that your repentance and the repentance of your house may be found
in simplicity, and your heart may be pure and stainless.”

COMMANDMENT THIRD

ON AVOIDING FALSEHOOD, AND ON THE
REPENTANCE OF HERMAS FOR HIS DISSIMULATION
Again he said to me, “Love the truth, and let nothing but truth proceed
from your mouth, that the spirit which God has placed in your flesh may
be found truthful before all men; and the Lord, who dwelleth in you, will
be glorified, because the Lord is truthful in every word, and in Him is no
falsehood. They therefore who lie deny the Lord, and rob Him, not giving
back to Him the deposit which they have received. For they received from
Him a spirit free from falsehood. If they give him back this spirit
untruthful, they pollute the commandment of the Lord, and become
robbers.” On hearing these words, I wept most violently. When he saw me
weeping, he said to me, “Why do you weep?” And I said, “Because, sir, I
know not if I can be saved.” “Why?” said he. And I said, “Because, sir, I
never spake a true word in my life, but have ever spoken cunningly to all,
and have affirmed a lie for the truth to all; and no one ever contradicted me,
but credit was given to my word. How then can I live, since I have acted
thus?” And he said to me, “Your feelings are indeed right and sound, for
you ought as a servant of God to have walked in truth, and not to have
joined an evil conscience with the spirit of truth, nor to have caused
sadness to the holy and true Spirit.” And I said to him, “Never, sir, did I
listen to these words with so much attention.” And he said to me, “Now
you hear them, and keep them, that even the falsehoods which you
36
formerly told in your transactions may come to be believed through the
truthfulness of your present statements. For even they can become
worthy of credit. If you keep these precepts, and from this time forward
you speak nothing but the truth, it will be possible for you to obtain life.
And whosoever shall hear this commandment, and depart from that great
wickedness falsehood, shall live to God.”

COMMANDMENT FOURTH

ON PUTTING ONE’S WIFE AWAY FOR ADULTERY

CHAPTER 1

“I charge you,” said he, “to guard your chastity, and let no thought enter
your heart of another man’s wife, or of fornication, or of similar iniquities;
for by doing this you commit a great sin. But if you always remember
your own wife, you will never sin. For if this thought enter your heart,
then you will sin; and if, in like manner, you think other wicked thoughts,
you commit sin. For this thought is great sin in a servant of God. But if
any one commit this wicked deed, he works death for himself. Attend,
therefore, and refrain from this thought; for where purity dwells, there
iniquity ought not to enter the heart of a righteous man.” I said to him,
“Sir, permit me to ask you a few questions.” “Say on,” said he. And I said
to him, “Sir, if any one has a wife who trusts in the Lord, and if he detect
her in adultery, does the man sin if he continue to live with her?” And he
said to me, “As long as he remains ignorant of her sin, the husband
commits no transgression in living with her. But if the husband know that
his wife has gone astray, and if the woman does not repent, but persists in
her fornication, and yet the husband continues to live with her, he also is
guilty of her crime, and a sharer in her adultery.” And I said to him, “What
then, sir, is the husband to do, if his wife continue in her vicious
practices?” And he said, “The husband should put her away, and remain
by himself. But if he put his wife away and marry another, he also
commits adultery.” And I said to him, “What if the woman put away
should repent, and wish to return to her husband: shall she not be taken
37
back by her husband?” And he said to me, “Assuredly. If the husband do
not take her back, he sins, and brings a great sin upon himself; for he ought
to take back the sinner who has repented. But not frequently. For there is
but one repentance to the servants of God. In case, therefore, that the
divorced wife may repent, the husband ought not to marry another, when
his wife has been put away. In this matter man and woman are to be
treated exactly in the same way. Moreover, adultery is committed not
only by those who pollute their flesh, but by those who imitate the
heathen in their actions. Wherefore if any one persists in such deeds, and
repents not, withdraw from him, and cease to live with him, otherwise you
are a sharer in his sin. Therefore has the injunction been laid on you, that
you should remain by yourselves, both man and woman, for in such
persons repentance can take place. But I do not,” said he, “give
opportunity for the doing of these deeds, but that he who has sinned may
sin no more. But with regard to his previous transgressions, there is One
who is able to provide a cure; for it is He, indeed, who has power over all.”

CHAPTER 2

I asked him again, and said, “Since the Lord has vouchsafed to dwell
always with me, bear with me while I utter a few words; for I understand
nothing, and my heart has been hardened by my previous mode of life.
Give me understanding, for I am exceedingly dull, and I understand
absolutely nothing.” And he answered and said unto me, “I am set over
repentance, and I give understanding to all who repent. Do you not think,”
he said, “that it is great wisdom to repent? for repentance is great wisdom.
For he who has sinned understands that he acted wickedly in the sight of
the Lord, and remembers the actions he has done, and he repents, and no
longer acts wickedly, but does good munificently, and humbles and
torments his soul because he has sinned. You see, therefore, that
repentance is great wisdom.” And I said to him, “It is for this reason, sir,
that I inquire carefully into all things, especially because I am a sinner; that
I may know what works I should do, that I may live: for my sins are many
and various.” And he said to me, “You shall live if you keep my
commandments, and walk in them; and whosoever shall hear and keep
these commandments, shall live to God.”
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CHAPTER 3

And I said to him, “I should like to continue my questions.” “Speak on,”
said he. And I said, “I heard, sir, some teachers maintain that there is no
other repentance than that which takes place, when we descended into the
water and received remission of our former sins.” He said to me, “That
was sound doctrine which you heard; for that is really the case. For he
who has received remission of his sins ought not to sin any more, but to
live in purity. Since, however, you inquire diligently into all things, I will
point this also out to you, not as giving occasion for error to those who are
to believe, or have lately believed, in the Lord. For those who have now
believed, and those who are to believe, have not repentance for their sins;
but they have remission of their previous sins. For to those who have been
called before these days, the Lord has set repentance. For the Lord,
knowing the heart, and foreknowing all things, knew the weakness of men
and the manifold wiles of the devil, that he would inflict some evil on the
servants of God, and would act wickedly towards them. The Lord,
therefore, being merciful, has had mercy on the work of His hand, and has
set repentance for them; and He has entrusted to me power over this
repentance. And therefore I say to you, that if any one is tempted by the
devil, and sins after that great and holy calling in which the Lord has called
His people to everlasting life, he has opportunity to repent but once. But
if he should sin frequently after this, and then repent, to such a man his
repentance will be of no avail; for with difficulty will he live.” And I said,
“Sir, I feel that life has come back to me in listening attentively to these
commandments; for I know that I shall be saved, if in future I sin no
more.” And he said, “You will be saved, you and all who keep these
commandments.”

CHAPTER 4

And again I asked him, saying, “Sir, since you have been so patient in
listening to me, will you show me this also?” “Speak,” said he. And I said,
“If a wife or husband die, and the widower or widow marry, does he or
she commit sin?” “There is no sin in marrying again,” said he; “but if they
remain unmarried, they gain greater honor and glory with the Lord; but if
39
they marry, they do not sin. Guard, therefore, your chastity and purity,
and you will live to God. What commandments I now give you, and what I
am to give, keep from henceforth, yea, from the very day when you were
entrusted to me, and I will dwell in your house. And your former sins will
be forgiven, if you keep my commandments. And all shall be forgiven who
keep these my commandments, and walk in this chastity.”

COMMANDMENT FIFTH

OF SADNESS OF HEART, AND OF PATIENCE

CHAPTER 1

“Be patient,” said he, “and of good understanding, and you will rule over
every wicked work, and you will work all righteousness. For if you be
patient, the Holy Spirit that dwells in you will be pure. He will not be
darkened by any evil spirit, but, dwelling in a broad region, he will rejoice
and be glad; and with the vessel in which he dwells he will serve God in
gladness, having great peace within himself. But if any outburst of anger
take place, forthwith the Holy Spirit, who is tender, is straitened, not
having a pure place, and He seeks to depart. For he is choked by the vile
spirit, and cannot attend on the Lord as he wishes, for anger pollutes him.
For the Lord dwells in long-suffering, but the devil in anger. The two
spirits, then, when dwelling in the same habitation, are at discord with
each other, and are troublesome to that man in whom they dwell. For if an
exceedingly small piece of wormwood be taken and put into a jar of honey,
is not the honey entirely destroyed, and does not the exceedingly small
piece of wormwood entirely take away the sweetness of the honey, so
that it no longer affords any gratification to its owner, but has become
bitter, and lost its use? But if the wormwood be not put into the honey,
then the honey remains sweet, and is of use to its owner. You see, then,
that patience is sweeter than honey, and useful to God, and the Lord
dwells in it. But anger is bitter and useless. Now, if anger be mingled with
patience, the patience is polluted, and its prayer is not then useful to
God.” “I should like, sir,” said I, “to know the power of anger, that I may
40
guard myself against it.” And he said, “If you do not guard yourself
against it, you and your house lose all hope of salvation. Guard yourself,
therefore, against it. For I am with you, and all will depart from it who
repent with their whole heart. For I will be with them, and I will save them
all. For all are justified by the most holy angel.

CHAPTER 2

“Hear now,” said he, “how wicked is the action of anger, and in what way
it overthrows the servants of God by its action, and turns them from
righteousness. But it does not turn away those who are full of faith, nor
does it act on them, for the power of the Lord is with them. It is the
thoughtless and doubting that it turns away. For as soon as it sees such
men standing steadfast, it throws itself into their hearts, and for nothing at
all the man or woman becomes embittered on account of occurrences in
their daily life, as for instance on account of their food, or some
superfluous word that has been uttered, or on account of some friend, or
some gift or debt, or some such senseless affair. For all these things are
foolish and empty and unprofitable to the servants of God. But patience is
great, and mighty, and strong, and calm in the midst of great enlargement,
joyful, rejoicing, free from care, glorifying God at all times, having no
bitterness in her, and abiding continually meek and quiet. Now this
patience dwells with those who have complete faith. But anger is foolish,
and fickle, and senseless. Now, of folly is begotten bitterness, and of
bitterness anger, and of anger frenzy. This frenzy, the product of so many
evils, ends in great and incurable sin. For when all these spirits dwell in
one vessel in which the Holy Spirit also dwells, the vessel cannot contain
them, but overflows. The tender Spirit, then, not being accustomed to
dwell with the wicked spirit, nor with hardness, withdraws from such a
man, and seeks to dwell with meekness and peacefulness. Then, when he
withdraws from the man in whom he dwelt, the man is emptied of the
righteous Spirit; and being henceforward filled with evil spirits, he is in a
state of anarchy in every action, being dragged hither and thither by the
evil spirits, and there is a complete darkness in his mind as to everything
good. This, then, is what happens to all the angry. Wherefore do you
depart from that most wicked spirit anger, and put on patience, and resist
41
anger and bitterness, and you will be found in company with the purity
which is loved by the Lord. Take care, then, that you neglect not by any
chance this commandment: for if you obey this commandment, you will be
able to keep all the other commandments which I am to give you. Be
strong, then, in these commandments, and put on power, and let all put on
power, as many as wish to walk in them.”

COMMANDMENT SIXTH

HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE TWO SPIRITS ATTENDANT
ON EACH MAN, AND HOW TO DISTINGUISH THE
SUGGESTIONS OF THE ONE FROM THOSE OF THE OTHER

CHAPTER 1

“I gave you,” he said, “directions in the first commandment to attend to
faith, and fear, and self-restraint.” “Even so, sir,” said I. And he said,
“Now I wish to show you the powers of these, that you may know what
power each possesses. For their powers are double, and have relation alike
to the righteous and the unrighteous. Trust you, therefore, the righteous,
but put no trust in the unrighteous. For the path of righteousness is
straight, but that of unrighteousness is crooked. But walk in the straight
and even way, and mind not the crooked. For the crooked path has no
roads, but has many pathless places and stumbling-blocks in it, and it is
rough and thorny. It is injurious to those who walk therein. But they who
walk in the straight road walk evenly without stumbling, because it is
neither rough nor thorny. You see, then, that it is better to walk in this
road.” “I wish to go by this road,” said I. “You will go by it,” said he; “and
whoever turns to the Lord with all his heart will walk in it.”

CHAPTER 2

“Hear now,” said he, “in regard to faith. There are two angels with a man
— one of righteousness, and the other of iniquity.” And I said to him,
42
“How, sir, am I to know the powers of these, for both angels dwell with
me?” “Hear,” said he, and “understand them. The angel of righteousness is
gentle and modest, meek and peaceful. When, therefore, he ascends into
your heart, forthwith he talks to you of righteousness, purity, chastity,
contentment, and of every righteous deed and glorious virtue. When all
these ascend into your heart, know that the angel of righteousness is with
you. These are the deeds of the angel of righteousness. Trust him, then,
and his works. Look now at the works of the angel of iniquity. First, he is
wrathful, and bitter, and foolish, and his works are evil, and ruin the
servants of God. When, then, he ascends into your heart, know him by his
works.” And I said to him, “How, sir, I shall perceive him, I do not
know.” “Hear and understand” said he. “When anger comes upon you, or
harshness, know that he is in you; and you will know this to be the case
also, when you are attacked by a longing after many transactions, and the
richest delicacies, and drunken revels, and divers luxuries, and things
improper, and by a hankering after women, and by overreaching, and
pride, and blustering, and by whatever is like to these. When these ascend
into your heart, know that the angel of iniquity is in you. Now that you
know his works, depart from him, and in no respect trust him, because his
deeds are evil, and unprofitable to the servants of God. These, then, are
the actions of both angels. Understand them, and trust the angel of
righteousness; but depart from the angel of iniquity, because his
instruction is bad in every deed. For though a man be most faithful, and
the thought of this angel ascend into his heart, that man or woman must
sin. On the other hand, be a man or woman ever so bad, yet, if the works
of the angel of righteousness ascend into his or her heart, he or she must do
something good. You see, therefore, that it is good to follow the angel of
righteousness, but to bid farewell to the angel of iniquity.
“This commandment exhibits the deeds of faith, that you may trust the
works of the angel of righteousness, and doing them you may live to God.
But believe the works of the angel of iniquity are hard. If you refuse to do
them, you will live to God.”
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COMMANDMENT SEVENTH

ON FEARING GOD, AND NOT FEARING THE DEVIL
“Fear,” said he, “the Lord, and keep His commandments. For if you keep
the commandments of God, you will be powerful in every action, and
every one of your actions will be incomparable. For, fearing the Lord, you
will do all things well. This is the fear which you ought to have, that you
may be saved. But fear not the devil; for, fearing the Lord, you will have
dominion over the devil, for there is no power in him. But he in whom
there is no power ought on no account to be an object of fear; but He in
whom there is glorious power is truly to be feared. For every one that has
power ought to be feared; but he who has not power is despised by all.
Fear, therefore, the deeds of the devil, since they are wicked. For, fearing
the Lord, you will not do these deeds, but will refrain from them. For fears
are of two kinds: for if you do not wish to do that which is evil, fear the
Lord, and you will not do it; but, again, if you wish to do that which is
good, fear the Lord, and you will do it. Wherefore the fear of the Lord is
strong, and great, and glorious. Fear, then, the Lord, and you will live to
Him, and as many as fear Him and keep His commandments will live to
God.” “Why,” said I, “sir, did you say in regard to those that keep His
commandments, that they will live to God?” “Because,” says he, “all
creation fears the Lord, but all creation does not keep His commandments.
They only who fear the Lord and keep His commandments have life with
God; but as to those who keep not His commandments, there is no life in
them.”

COMMANDMENT EIGHTH

WE OUGHT TO SHUN THAT WHICH IS EVIL,
AND DO THAT WHICH IS GOOD
“I told you,” said he, “that the creatures of God are double, for restraint
also is double; for in some cases restraint has to be exercised, in others
there is no need of restraint.” “Make known to me, sir,” say I, “in what
cases restraint has to be exercised, and in what cases it has not.” “Restrain
44
yourself in regard to evil, and do it not; but exercise no restraint in regard
to good, but do it. For if you exercise restraint in the doing of good, you
will commit a great sin; but if you exercise restraint, so as not to do that
which is evil, you are practicing great righteousness. Restrain yourself,
therefore, from all iniquity, and do that which is good.” “What, sir,” say I,
“are the evil deeds from which we must restrain ourselves?” “Hear,” says
he: “from adultery and fornication, from unlawful reveling, from wicked
luxury, from indulgence in many kinds of food and the extravagance of
riches, and from boastfulness, and haughtiness, and insolence, and lies, and
backbiting, and hypocrisy, from the remembrance of wrong, and from all
slander. These are the deeds that are most wicked in the life of men. From
all these deeds, therefore, the servant of God must restrain himself. For he
who does not restrain himself from these, cannot live to God. Listen, then,
to the deeds that accompany these.” “Are there, sir,” said I, “any other
evil deeds?” “There are,” says he; “and many of them, too, from which the
servant of God must restrain himself — theft, lying, robbery, false
witness, overreaching, wicked lust, deceit, vainglory, boastfulness, and all
other vices like to these.” “Do you not think that these are really wicked?”
“Exceedingly wicked in the servants of God. From all of these the servant
of God must restrain himself. Restrain yourself, then, from all these, that
you may live to God, and you will be enrolled amongst those who restrain
themselves in regard to these matters. These, then, are the things from
which you must restrain yourself.
“But listen,” says he, “to the things in regard to which you have not to
exercise self-restraint, but which you ought to do. Restrain not yourself in
regard to that which is good, but do it.” “And tell me, sir,” say I, “the
nature of the good deeds, that I may walk in them and wait on them, so
that doing them I can be saved.” “Listen,” says he, “to the good deeds
which you ought to do, and in regard to which there is no self-restraint
requisite. First of all there is faith, then fear of the Lord, love, concord,
words of righteousness, truth, patience. Than these, nothing is better in
the life of men. If any one attend to these, and restrain himself not from
them, blessed is he in his life. Then there are the following attendant on
these: helping widows, looking after orphans and the needy, rescuing the
servants of God from necessities, the being hospitable — for in hospitality
good-doing finds a field — never opposing any one, the being quiet, having
45
fewer needs than all men, reverencing the aged, practicing righteousness,
watching the brotherhood, bearing insolence, being long-suffering,
encouraging those who are sick in soul, not casting those who have fallen
into sin from the faith, but turning them back and restoring them to peace
of mind, admonishing sinners, not oppressing debtors and the needy, and
if there are any other actions like these. Do these seem to you good?” says
he. “For what, sir,” say I, “is better than these?” “Walk then in them,”
says he, “and restrain not yourself from them, and you will live to God.
Keep, therefore, this commandment. If you do good, and restrain not
yourself from it, you will live to God. All who act thus will live to God.
And, again, if you refuse to do evil, and restrain yourself from it, you will
live to God. And all will live to God who keep these commandments, and
walk in them.”

COMMANDMENT NINTH

PRAYER MUST BE MADE TO GOD WITHOUT
CEASING AND WITH UNWAVERING CONFIDENCE
He says to me, “Put away doubting from you and do not hesitate to ask of
the Lord, saying to yourself, ‘How can I ask of the Lord and receive from
Him, seeing I have sinned so much against Him?’ Do not thus reason with
yourself, but with all your heart turn to the Lord and ask of Him without
doubting, and you will know the multitude of His tender mercies; that He
will never leave you, but fulfill the request of your soul. For He is not like
men, who remember evils done against them; but He Himself remembers
not evils, and has compassion on His own creature, Cleanse, therefore,
your heart from all the vanities of this world, and from the words already
mentioned, and ask of the Lord and you will receive all, and in none of
your requests will you be denied which you make to the Lord without
doubting. But if you doubt in your heart, you will receive none of your
requests. For those who doubt regarding God are double-souled, and
obtain not one of their requests. But those who are perfect in faith ask
everything, trusting in the Lord; and they obtain, because they ask nothing
doubting, and not being double-souled. For every double-souled man, even
if he repent, will with difficulty be saved. Cleanse your heart, therefore,
46
from all doubt, and put on faith, because it is strong, and trust God that
you will obtain from Him all that you ask. And if at any time, after you
have asked of the Lord, you are slower in obtaining your request [than you
expected], do not doubt because you have not soon obtained the request of
your soul; for invariably it is on account of some temptation or some sin
of which you are ignorant that you are slower in obtaining your request.
Wherefore do not cease to make the request of your soul, and you will
obtain it. But if you grow weary and waver in your request, blame
yourself, and not Him who does not give to you. Consider this doubting
state of mind, for it is wicked and senseless, and turns many away entirely
from the faith, even though they be very strong. For this doubting is the
daughter of the devil, and acts exceedingly wickedly to the servants of
God. Despise, then, doubting, and gain the mastery over it in everything;
clothing yourself with faith, which is strong and powerful. For faith
promises all things, perfects all things; but doubt having no thorough faith
in itself, fails in every work which it undertakes. You see, then,” says he,
“that, faith is from above — from the Lord — and has great power; but
doubt is an earthly spirit, coming from the devil, and has no power. Serve,
then, that which has power, namely faith, and keep away from doubt,
which has no power, and you will live to God. And all will live to God
whose minds have been set on these things.”

COMMANDMENT TENTH

OF GRIEF, AND NOT GRIEVING THE SPIRIT
OF GOD WHICH IS IN US

CHAPTER 1

“Remove from you,” says he, “grief; for she is the sister of doubt and
anger.” “How, sir,” say I, “is she the sister of these? for anger, doubt, and
grief seem to be quite different from each other.” “You are senseless, O
man. Do you not perceive that grief is more wicked than all the spirits, and
most terrible to the servants of God, and more than all other spirits
destroys man and crushes out the Holy Spirit, and yet, on the other hand,
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she saves him?” “I am senseless, sir,” say I, “and do not understand these
parables. For how she can crush out, and on the other hand save, I do not
perceive.” “Listen,” says he. “Those who have never searched for the
truth, nor investigated the nature of the Divinity, but have simply
believed, when they devote themselves to and become mixed up with
business, and wealth, and heathen friendships, and many other actions of
this world, do not perceive the parables of Divinity; for their minds are
darkened by these actions, and they are corrupted and become dried up.
Even as beautiful vines, when they are neglected, are withered up by
thorns and divers plants, so men who have believed, and have afterwards
fallen away into many of those actions above mentioned, go astray in their
minds, and lose all understanding in regard to righteousness; for if they
hear of righteousness, their minds are occupied with their business, and
they give no heed at all. Those, on the other hand, who have the fear of
God, and search after Godhead and truth, and have their hearts turned to
the Lord, quickly perceive and understand what is said to them, because
they have the fear of the Lord in them. For where the Lord dwells, there is
much understanding. Cleave, then, to the Lord, and you will understand
and perceive all things.

CHAPTER 2

“Hear, then,” says he, “foolish man, how grief crushes out the Holy Spirit,
and on the other hand saves. When the doubting man attempts any deed,
and fails in it on account of his doubt, this grief enters into the man, and
grieves the Holy Spirit, and crushes him out. Then, on the other hand,
when anger attaches itself to a man in regard to any matter, and he is
embittered, then grief enters into the heart of the man who was irritated,
and he is grieved at the deed which he did, and repents that he has wrought
a wicked deed. This grief, then, appears to be accompanied by salvation,
because the man, after having done a wicked deed, repented. Both actions
grieve the Spirit: doubt, because it did not accomplish its object; and anger
grieves the Spirit, because it did what was wicked. Both these are grievous
to the Holy Spirit — doubt and anger. Wherefore remove grief from you,
and crush not the Holy Spirit which dwells in you, lest he entreat God
against you, and he withdraw from you. For the Spirit of God which has
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been granted to us to dwell in this body does not endure grief nor
straitness. Wherefore put on cheerfulness, which always is agreeable and
acceptable to God, and rejoice in it. For every cheerful man does what is
good, and minds what is good, and despises grief; but the sorrowful man
always acts wickedly. First, he acts wickedly because he grieves the Holy
Spirit, which was given to man a cheerful Spirit. Secondly, Grieving the
Holy Spirit, he works iniquity, neither entreating the Lord nor confessing
to Him. For the entreaty of the sorrowful man has no power to ascend to
the altar of God.” “Why,” say I, “does not the entreaty of the grieved man
ascend to the altar?” “Because,” says he, “grief sits in his heart. Grief,
then, mingled with his entreaty, does not permit the entreaty to ascend
pure to the altar of God. For as vinegar and wine, when mixed in the same
vessel, do not give the same pleasure [as wine alone gives], so grief mixed
with the Holy Spirit does not produce the same entreaty [as would be
produced by the Holy Spirit alone]. Cleanse yourself from this wicked
grief, and you will live to God; and all will live to God who drive away
grief from them, and put on all cheerfulness.”

COMMANDMENT ELEVENTH

THE SPIRIT AND PROPHETS TO BE TRIED BY THEIR WORKS;
ALSO OF THE TWO KINDS OF SPIRIT
He pointed out to me some men sitting on a seat, and one man sitting on a
chair. And he says to me, “Do you see the persons sitting on the seat?” “I
do, sir,” said I. “These,” says he, “are the faithful, and he who sits on the
chair is a false prophet, ruining the minds of the servants of God. It is the
doubters, not the faithful, that he ruins. These doubters then go to him as
to a soothsayer, and inquire of him what will happen to them; and he, the
false prophet, not having the power of a Divine Spirit in him, answers
them according to their inquiries, and according to their wicked desires, and
fills their souls with expectations, according to their own wishes. For being
himself empty, he gives empty answers to empty inquirers; for every
answer is made to the emptiness of man. Some true words he does
occasionally utter; for the devil fills him with his own spirit, in the hope
that he may be able to overcome some of the righteous. As many, then, as
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are strong in the faith of the Lord, and are clothed with truth, have no
connection with such spirits, but keep away from them; but as many as
are of doubtful minds and frequently repent, betake themselves to
soothsaying, even as the heathen, and bring greater sin upon themselves by
their idolatry. For he who inquires of a false prophet in regard to any
action is an idolater, and devoid of the truth, and foolish. For no spirit
given by God requires to be asked; but such a spirit having the power of
Divinity speaks all things of itself, for it proceeds from above from the
power of the Divine Spirit. But the spirit which is asked and speaks
according to the desires of men is earthly, light, and powerless, and it is
altogether silent if it is not questioned.” “How then, sir,” say I, “will a
man know which of them is the prophet, and which the false prophet?” “I
will tell you,” says he, “about both the prophets, and then you can try the
true and the false prophet according to my directions. Try the man who
has the Divine Spirit by his life. First, he who has the Divine Spirit
proceeding from above is meek, and peaceable, and humble, and refrains
from all iniquity and the vain desire of this world, and contents himself
with fewer wants than those of other men, and when asked he makes no
reply; nor does he speak privately, nor when man wishes the spirit to
speak does the Holy Spirit speak, but it speaks only when God wishes it
to speak. When, then, a man having the Divine Spirit comes into an
assembly of righteous men who have faith in the Divine Spirit, and this
assembly of men offers up prayer to God, then the angel of the prophetic
Spirit, who is destined for him, fills the man; and the man being filled with
the Holy Spirit, speaks to the multitude as the Lord wishes. Thus, then,
will the Spirit of Divinity become manifest. Whatever power therefore
comes from the Spirit of Divinity belongs to the Lord. Hear, then,” says
he, “in regard to the spirit which is earthly, and empty, and powerless,
and foolish. First, the man who seems to have the Spirit exalts himself, and
wishes to have the first seat, and is bold, and impudent, and talkative, and
lives in the midst of many luxuries and many other delusions, and takes
rewards for his prophecy; and if he does not receive rewards, he does not
prophesy. Can, then, the Divine Spirit take rewards and prophesy? It is
not possible that the prophet of God should do this, but prophets of this
character are possessed by an earthly spirit. Then it never approaches an
assembly of righteous men, but shuns them. And it associates with
doubters and the vain, and prophesies to them in a comer, and deceives
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them, speaking to them, according to their desires, mere empty words: for
they are empty to whom it gives its answers. For the empty vessel, when
placed along with the empty, is not crushed, but they correspond to each
other. When, therefore, it comes into an assembly of righteous men who
have a Spirit of Divinity, and they offer up prayer, that man is made
empty, and the earthly spirit flees from him through fear, and that man is
made dumb, and is entirely crushed, being unable to speak. For if you pack
closely a storehouse with wine or oil, and put an empty jar in the midst of
the vessels of wine or oil, you will find that jar empty as when you placed
it, if you should wish to clear the storehouse. So also the empty prophets,
when they come to the spirits of the righteous, are found [on leaving] to be
such as they were when they came. This, then, is the mode of life of both
prophets. Try by his deeds and his life the man who says that he is
inspired. But as for you, trust the Spirit which comes from God, and has
power; but the spirit which is earthly and empty trust not at all, for there
is no power in it: it comes from the devil. Hear, then, the parable which I
am to tell you. Take a stone, and throw it to the sky, and see if you can
touch it. Or again, take a squirt of water and squirt into the sky, and see if
you can penetrate the sky.” “How, sir,” say I, “can these things take
place? for both of them are impossible.” “As these things,” says he, “are
impossible, so also are the earthly spirits powerless and pithless. But
look, on the other hand, at the power which comes from above. Hail is of
the size of a very small grain, yet when it falls on a man’s head how much
annoyance it gives him! Or, again, take the drop which falls from a pitcher
to the ground, and yet it hollows a stone. You see, then, that the smallest
things coming from above have great power when they fall upon the earth.
Thus also is the Divine Spirit, which comes from above, powerful. Trust,
then, that Spirit, but have nothing to do with the other.”
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COMMANDMENT TWELFTH

ON THE TWOFOLD DESIRE. THE COMMANDMENTS
OF GOD CAN BE KEPT, AND BELIEVERS
OUGHT NOT TO FEAR THE DEVIL

CHAPTER 1

He says to me, “Put away from you all wicked desire, and clothe yourself
with good and chaste desire; for clothed with this desire you will hate
wicked desire, and will rein yourself in even as you wish. For wicked
desire is wild, and is with difficulty tamed. For it is terrible, and consumes
men exceedingly by its wildness. Especially is the servant of God terribly
consumed by it, if he falls into it and is devoid of understanding.
Moreover, it consumes all such as have not on them the garment of good
desire, but are entangled and mixed up with this world. These it delivers
up to death.” “What then, sir,” say I, “are the deeds of wicked desire
which deliver men over to death? Make them known to me, and I will
refrain from them.” “Listen, then, to the works in which evil desire slays
the servants of God.”

CHAPTER 2

“Foremost of all is the desire after another’s wife or husband, and after
extravagance, and many useless dainties and drinks, and many other
foolish luxuries; for all luxury is foolish and empty in the servants of God.
These, then, are the evil desires which slay the servants of God. For this
evil desire is the daughter of the devil. You must refrain from evil desires,
that by refraining ye may live to God. But as many as are mastered by
them, and do not resist them, will perish at last, for these desires are fatal.
Put you on, then, the desire of righteousness; and arming yourself with the
fear of the Lord, resist them. For the fear of the Lord dwells in good desire.
But if evil desire see you armed with the fear of God, and resisting it, it
will flee far from you, and it will no longer appear to you, for it fears your
armor. Go, then, garlanded with the crown which you have gained for
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victory over it, to the desire of righteousness, and, delivering up to it the
prize which you have received, serve it even as it wishes. If you serve
good desire, and be subject to it, you will gain the mastery over evil desire,
and make it subject to you even as you wish.”

CHAPTER 3

“I should like to know,” say I, “in what way I ought to serve good desire.”
“Hear,” says he: “You will practice righteousness and virtue, truth and the
fear of the Lord, faith and meekness, and whatsoever excellences are like to
these. Practicing these, you will be a well-pleasing servant of God, and
you will live to Him; and every one who shall serve good desire, shall live
to God.”
He concluded the twelve commandments, and said to me, “You have now
these commandments. Walk in them, and exhort your hearers that their
repentance may be pure during the remainder of their life. Fulfill carefully
this ministry which I now entrust to you, and you will accomplish much.
For you will find favor among those who are to repent, and they will give
heed to your words; for I will be with you, and will compel them to obey
you.” I say to him, “Sir, these commandments are great, and good, and
glorious, and fitted to gladden the heart of the man who can perform them.
But I do not know if these commandments can be kept by man, because
they are exceeding hard.” He answered and said to me, “If you lay it down
as certain that they can be kept, then you will easily keep them, and they
will not be hard. But if you come to imagine that they cannot be kept by
man, then you will not keep them. Now I say to you, If you do not keep
them, but neglect them, you will not be saved, nor your children, nor your
house, since you have already determined for yourself that these
commandments cannot be kept by man.”

CHAPTER 4

These things he said to me in tones of the deepest anger, so that I was
confounded and exceedingly afraid of him, for his figure was altered so that
a man could not endure his anger. But seeing me altogether agitated and
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confused, he began to speak to me in more gentle tones; and he said: “O
feel, senseless and doubting, do you not perceive how great is the glory of
God, and how strong and marvelous, in that He created the world for the
sake of man, and subjected all creation to him, and gave him power to rule
over everything under heaven? If, then, man is Lord of the creatures of
God, and rules over all, is he not able to be Lord also of these
commandments? For,” says he, “the man who has the Lord in his heart can
also be Lord of all, and of every one of these commandments. But to those
who have the Lord only on their lips, but their hearts hardened, and who
are far from the Lord, the commandments are hard and difficult. Put,
therefore, ye who are empty and fickle in your faith, the Lord in your
heart, and ye will know that there is nothing easier or sweeter, or more
manageable, than these commandments. Return, ye who walk in the
commandments of the devil, in hard, and bitter, and wild licentiousness,
and fear not the devil; for there is no power in him against you, for I will
be with you, the angel of repentance, who am Lord over him. The devil has
fear only, but his fear has no strength. Fear him not, then, and he will flee
from you.”

CHAPTER 5

I say to him, “Sir, listen to me for a moment.” “Say what you wish,” says
he. “Man, sir,” say I, “is eager to keep the commandments of God, and
there is no one who does not ask of the Lord that strength may be given
him for these commandments, and that he may be subject to them; but the
devil is hard, and holds sway over them.” “He cannot,” says he, “hold
sway over the servants of God, who with all their heart place their hopes
in Him. The devil can wrestle against these, overthrow them he cannot. If,
then, ye resist him, he will be conquered, and flee in disgrace from you. As
many, therefore,” says he, “as are empty, fear the devil, as possessing
power. When a man has filled very suitable jars with good wine, and a few
among those jars are left empty, then he comes to the jars, and does not
look at the full jars, for he knows that they are full; but he looks at the
empty, being afraid lest they have become sour. For empty jars quickly
become sour, and the goodness of the wine is gone. So also the devil goes
to all the servants of God to try them. As many, then, as are full in the
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faith, resist him strongly, and he withdraws from them, having no way by
which he might enter them. He goes, then, to the empty, and finding a way
of entrance, into them, he produces in them whatever he wishes, and they
become his servants.

CHAPTER 6

“But I, the angel of repentance, say to you Fear not the devil; for I was
sent,” says he, “to be with you who repent with all your heart, and to
make you strong in faith. Trust God, then, ye who on account of your sins
have despaired of life, and who add to your sins and weigh down your life;
for if ye return to the Lord with all your heart, and practice righteousness
the rest of your days, and serve Him according to His will, He will heal
your former sins, and you will have power to hold sway over the works of
the devil. But as to the threats of the devil, fear them not at all, for he is
powerless as the sinews of a dead man. Give ear to me, then, and fear Him
who has all power, both to save and destroy, and keep His
commandments, and ye will live to God.” I say to him, “Sir, I am now
made strong in all the ordinances of the Lord, because you are with me;
and I know that you will crush all the power of the devil, and we shall
have rule over him, and shall prevail against all his works. And I hope, sir,
to be able to keep all these commandments which you have enjoined upon
me, the Lord strengthening me.” “You will keep them,” says he, “if your
heart be pure towards the Lord; and all will keep them who cleanse their
hearts from the vain desires of this world, and they will live to God.”
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BOOK THIRD
SIMILITUDES
SIMILITUDE FIRST

AS IN THIS WORLD WE HAVE NO ABIDING CITY,
WE OUGHT TO SEEK ONE TO COME
HE says to me, “You know that you who are the servants of God dwell in
a strange land; for your city is far away from this one. If, then,” he
continues, “you know your city in which you are to dwell, why do ye
here provide lands, and make expensive preparations, and accumulate
dwellings and useless buildings? He who makes such preparations for this
city cannot return again to his own. Oh foolish, and unstable, and
miserable man! Dost thou not understand that all these things belong to
another, and are under the power of another? for the Lord of this city will
say, ‘I do not wish thee to dwell in my city; but depart from this city,
because thou obeyest not my laws.’ Thou, therefore, although having
fields and houses, and many other things, when cast out by him, what wilt
thou do with thy land, and house, and other possessions which thou hast
gathered to thyself? For the Lord of this country justly says to thee,
‘Either obey my laws or depart from my dominion.’ What, then, dost thou
intend to do, having a law in thine own city, on account of thy lands, and
the rest of thy possessions? Thou shalt altogether deny thy law, and walk
according to the law of this city. See lest it be to thy hurt to deny thy law;
for if thou shalt desire to return to thy city, thou wilt not be received,
because thou hast denied the law of thy city, but wilt be excluded from it.
Have a care, therefore: as one living in a foreign land, make no further
preparations for thyself than such merely as may be sufficient; and be
ready, when the master of this city shall come to cast thee out for
disobeying his law, to leave his city, and to depart to thine own, and to
obey thine own law without being exposed to annoyance, but in great joy.
Have a care, then, ye who serve the Lord, and have Him in your heart, that
ye work the works of God, remembering His commandments and
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promises which He promised, and believe that He will bring them to pass
if His commandments be observed. Instead of lands, therefore, buy
afflicted souls, according as each one is able, and visit widows and
orphans, and do not overlook them; and spend your wealth and all your
preparations, which ye received from the Lord, upon such lands and
houses. For to this end did the Master make you rich, that you might
perform these services unto Him; and it is much better to purchase such
lands, and possessions, and houses, as you will find in your own city,
when you come to reside in it. This is a noble and sacred expenditure,
attended neither with sorrow nor fear, but with joy. Do not practice the
expenditure of the heathen, for it is injurious to you who are the servants
of God; but practice an expenditure of your own, in which ye can rejoice;
and do not corrupt nor touch what is another’s nor covet it, for it is an evil
thing to covet the goods of other men; but work thine own work, and thou
wilt be saved.”

SIMILITUDE SECOND

AS THE VINE IS SUPPORTED BY THE ELM, SO IS
THE RICH MAN HELPED BY THE PRAYER OF THE POOR
AS I was walking in the field, and observing an elm and vine, and
determining in my own, mind respecting them and their fruits, the
Shepherd appears to me, and says, “What is it that you are thinking about
the elm and vine?” “I am considering,” I reply, “that they become each
other exceedingly well.” “These two trees,” he continues, “are intended as
an example for the servants of God.” “I would like to know,” said I, “the
example which these trees you say, are intended to teach.” “Do you see,”
he says, “the elm and the vine?” “I see them sir,” I replied. “This vine,” he
continued, “produces fruit, and the elm is an unfruitful tree; but unless the
vine be trained upon the elm, it cannot bear much fruit when extended at
length upon the ground; and the fruit which it does bear is rotten, because
the plant is not suspended upon the elm. When, therefore, the vine is cast
upon the elm, it yields fruit both from itself and from the elm. You see,
moreover, that the elm also produces much fruit, not less than the vine,
but even more; because,” he continued, “the vine, when suspended upon
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the elm, yields much fruit, and good; but when thrown upon the ground,
what it produces is small and rotten. This Similitude, therefore, is for the
servants of God — for the poor man and for the rich.” “How so, sir?” said
I; “explain the matter to me.” “Listen,” he said: “The rich man has much
wealth, but is poor in matters relating to the Lord, because he is distracted
about his riches; and he offers very few confessions and intercessions to
the Lord, and those which he does offer are small and weak, and have no
power above. But when the rich man refreshes the poor, and assists him in
his necessities, believing that what he does to the poor man will be able to
find its reward with God — because the poor man is rich in intercession
and confession, and his intercession has great power with God — then the
rich man helps the poor in all things without hesitation; and the poor man,
being helped by the rich, intercedes for him, giving thanks to God for him
who bestows gifts upon him. And he still continues to interest himself
zealously for the poor man, that his wants may be constantly supplied.
For he knows that the intercession of the poor man is acceptable and
influential with God. Both, accordingly, accomplish their work. The poor
man makes intercession; a work in which he is rich, which he received from
the Lord, and with which he recompenses the master who helps him. And
the rich man, in like manner, unhesitatingly bestows upon the poor man
the riches which he received from the Lord. And this is a great work, and
acceptable before God, because he understands the object of his wealth,
and has given to the poor of the gifts of the Lord, and rightly discharged
his service to Him. Among men, however, the elm appears not to produce
fruit, and they do not know nor understand that if a drought come, the
elm, which contains water, nourishes the vine; and the vine, having an
unfailing supply of water, yields double fruit both for itself and for the
elm. So also poor men interceding with the Lord on behalf of the rich,
increase their riches; and the rich, again, aiding the poor in their necessities,
satisfy their souls. Both, therefore, are partners in the righteous work. He
who does these things shall not be deserted by God, but shall be enrolled
in the books of the living. Blessed are they who have riches, and who
understand that they are from the Lord. [For they who are of that mind
will be able to do some good.]”
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SIMILITUDE THIRD

AS IN WINTER GREEN TREES CANNOT BE
DISTINGUISHED FROM WITHERED, SO IN THIS
WORLD NEITHER CAN THE JUST FROM THE UNJUST
He showed me many trees having no leaves, but withered, as it seemed to
me; for all were alike. And he said to me, “Do you see those trees?” “I see,
sir,” I replied, “that all are alike, and withered.” He answered me, and said,
“These trees which you see are those who dwell in this world.” “Why,
then, sir,” I said, “are they withered, as it were, and alike?” “Because,” he
said, “neither are the righteous manifest in this life, nor sinners, but they
are alike; for this life is a winter to the righteous, and they do not manifest
themselves, because they dwell with sinners: for as in winter trees that
have cast their leaves are alike, and it is not seen which are dead and which
are living, so in this world neither do the righteous show themselves, nor
sinners, but all are alike one to another.”

SIMILITUDE FOURTH

AS IN SUMMER LIVING TREES ARE DISTINGUISHED
FROM WITHERED BY FRUIT AND LIVING LEAVES,
SO IN THE WORLD TO COME THE JUST DIFFER
FROM THE UNJUST IN HAPPINESS
He showed me again many trees, some budding, and others withered. And
he said to me, “Do you see these trees?” “I see, sir,” I replied, “some
putting forth buds, and others withered.” “Those,” he said, “which are
budding are the righteous who are to live in the world to come; for the
coming world is the summer of the righteous, but the winter of sinners.
When, therefore, the mercy of the Lord shines forth, then shall they be
made manifest who are the servants of God, and all men shall be made
manifest. For as in summer the fruits of each individual tree appear, and it
is ascertained of what sort they are, so also the fruits of the righteous shall
be manifest, and all who have been fruitful in that world shall be made
known. But the heathen and sinners, like the withered trees which you
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saw, will be found to be those who have been withered and unfruitful in
that world, and shall be burnt as wood, and [so] made manifest, because
their actions were evil during their lives. For the sinners shall be consumed
because they sinned and did not repent, and the heathen shall be burned
because they knew not Him who created them. Do you therefore bear
fruit, that in that summer your fruit may be known. And refrain from
much business, and you will never sin: for they who are occupied with
much business commit also many sins, being distracted about their affairs,
and not at all serving their Lord. How, then,” he continued, “can such a
one ask and obtain anything from the Lord, if he serve Him not? They
who serve Him shall obtain their requests, but they who serve Him not
shall receive nothing. And in the performance even of a single action a man
can serve the Lord; for his mind will not be perverted from the Lord, but
he will serve Him, having a pure mind. If, therefore, you do these things,
you shall be able to bear fruit for the life to come. And every one who will
do these things shall bear fruit.”

SIMILITUDE FIFTH

OF TRUE FASTING AND ITS REWARD:
ALSO OF PURITY OF BODY

CHAPTER 1

While fasting and sitting on a certain mountain, and giving thanks to the
Lord for all His dealings with me, I see the Shepherd sitting down beside
me, and saying, “Why have you come hither [so] early in the morning?”
“Because, sir,” I answered, “I have a station.” “What is a station?” he
asked. “I am fasting, sir,” I replied. “What is this fasting,” he continued,
“which you are observing?” “As I have been accustomed, sir,” I reply, “so
I fast.” “You do not know,” he says, “how to fast unto the Lord: this
useless fasting which you observe to Him is of no value.” “Why, sir,” I
answered, “do you say this?” “I say to you,” he continued, “that the
fasting which you think you observe is not a fasting. But I will teach you
what is a full and acceptable fasting to the Lord. Listen,” he continued:
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“God does not desire such an empty fasting. For fasting to God in this
way you will do nothing for a righteous life; but offer to God a fasting of
the following kind: Do no evil in your life, and serve the Lord with a pure
heart: keep His commandments, walking in His precepts, and let no evil
desire arise in your heart; and believe in God. If you do these things, and
fear Him, and abstain from every evil thing, you will live unto God; and if
you do these things, you will keep a great fast, and one acceptable before
God.

CHAPTER 2

“Hear the Similitude which I am about to narrate to you relative to fasting.
A certain man had a field and many slaves, and he planted a certain part of
the field with a vineyard, and selecting a faithful and beloved and much
valued slave, he called him to him, and said, ‘Take this vineyard which I
have planted, and stake it until I come, and do nothing else to the vineyard;
and attend to this order of mine, and you shall receive your freedom from
me.’ And the master of the slave departed to a foreign country. And when
he was gone, the slave took and staked the vineyard; and when he had
finished the staking of the vines, he saw that the vineyard was full of
weeds. He then reflected, saying, ‘I have kept this order of my master: I
will dig up the rest of this vineyard, and it will be more beautiful when dug
up; and being free of weeds, it will yield more fruit, not being choked by
them.’ He took, therefore, and dug up the vineyard, and rooted out all the
weeds that were in it. And that vineyard became very beautiful and
fruitful, Having no weeds to choke it. And after a certain time the master
of the slave and of the field returned, and entered into the vineyard. And
seeing that the vines were suitably supported on stakes, and the ground,
moreover, dug up, and all the weeds rooted out, and the vines fruitful, he
was greatly pleased with the work of his slave. And calling his beloved son
who was his heir, and his friends who were his councilors, he told them
what orders he had given his slave, and what he had found performed. And
they rejoiced along with the slave at the testimony which his master bore
to him. And he said to them, ‘I promised this slave freedom if he obeyed
the command which I gave him; and he has kept my command, and done
besides a good work to the vineyard, and has pleased me exceedingly. In
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return, therefore, for the work which he has done, I wish to make him co-
heir with my son, because, having good thoughts, he did not neglect them,
but carried them out.’ With this resolution of the master his son and
friends were well pleased, viz., that the slave should be co-heir with the
son. After a few days the master made a feast, and sent to his slave many
dishes from his table. And the slave receiving the dishes that were sent him
from his master, took of them what was sufficient for himself, and
distributed the rest among his fellow-slaves. And his fellow-slaves rejoiced
to receive the dishes, and began to pray for him, that he might find still
greater favor with his master for having so treated them. His master heard
all these things that were done, and was again greatly pleased with his
conduct. And the master again calling together his friends and his son,
reported to them the slave’s proceeding with regard to the dishes which he
had sent him. And they were still more satisfied that the slave should
become co-heir with his son.”

CHAPTER 3

I said to him, “Sir, I do not see the meaning of these Similitudes, nor am I
able to comprehend them, unless you explain them to me.” “I will explain
them all to you,” he said, “and whatever I shall mention in the course of
our conversations I will show you. [Keep the commandments of the Lord,
and you will be approved, and inscribed amongst the number of those who
observe His commands.] And if you do any good beyond what is
commanded by God, you will gain for yourself more abundant glory, and
will be more honored by God than you would otherwise be. If, therefore,
in keeping the commandments of God, you do, in addition, these services,
you will have joy if you observe them according to my command.” I said
to him, “Sir, whatsoever you enjoin upon me I will observe, for I know
that you are with me.” “I will be with you,” he replied, “because you have
such a desire for doing good; and I will be with all those,” he added, “who
have such a desire. This fasting,” he continued, “is very good, provided the
commandments of the Lord be observed. Thus, then, shall you observe the
fasting which you intend to keep. First of all, be on your guard against
every evil word, and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the
vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will
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be perfect. And you will do also as follows. Having fulfilled what is
written, in the day on which you fast you will taste nothing but bread and
water; and having reckoned up the price of the dishes of that day which
you intended to have eaten, you will give it to a widow, or an orphan, or
to some person in want, and thus you will exhibit humility of mind, so
that he who has received benefit from your humility may fill his own soul,
and pray for you to the Lord. If you observe fasting, as I have commanded
you, your sacrifice will be acceptable to God, and this fasting will be
written down; and the service thus performed is noble, and sacred, and
acceptable to the Lord. These things, therefore, shall you thus observe
with your children, and all your house, and in observing them you will be
blessed; and as many as hear these words and observe them shall be
blessed; and whatsoever they ask of the Lord they shall receive.”

CHAPTER 4

I prayed him much that he would explain to me the Similitude of the field,
and of the master of the vineyard, and of the slave who staked the
vineyard, and of the stakes, and of the weeds that were plucked out of the
vineyard, and of the son, and of the friends who were fellow-councilors,
for I knew that all these things were a kind of parable. And he answered
me, and said, “You are exceedingly persistent with your questions. You
ought not,” he continued, “to ask any questions at all; for if it is needful to
explain anything, it will be made known to you.” I said to him “Sir
whatsoever you show me, and do not explain, I shall have seen to no
purpose, not understanding its meaning. In like manner, also, if you speak
parables to me, and do not unfold them, I shall have heard your words in
vain.” And he answered me again, saying, “Every one who is the servant
of God, and has his Lord in his heart, asks of Him understanding, and
receives it, and opens up every parable; and the words of the Lord become
known to him which are spoken in parables. But those who are weak and
slothful in prayer, hesitate to ask anything from the Lord; but the Lord is
full of compassion, and gives without fail to all who ask Him. But you,
having been strengthened by the holy Angel, and having obtained from
Him such intercession, and not being slothful, why do not you ask of the
Lord understanding, and receive it from Him?” I said to him, “Sir, having
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you with me, I am necessitated to ask questions of you, for you show me
all things, and converse with me; but if I were to see or hear these things
without you, I would then ask the Lord to explain them.”

CHAPTER 5

“I said to you a little ago,” he answered, “that you were cunning and
obstinate in asking explanations of the parables; but since you are so
persistent, I shall unfold to you the meaning of the Similitudes of the field,
and of all the others that follow, that you may make them known to every
one. Hear now,” he said, “and understand them. The field is this world;
and the Lord of the field is He who created, and perfected, and
strengthened all things; [and the son is the Holy Spirit;] and the slave is
the Son of God; and the vines are this people, whom He Himself planted;
and the stakes are the holy angels of the Lord, who keep His people
together; and the weeds that were plucked out of the vineyard are the
iniquities of God’s servants; and the dishes which He sent Him from His
table are the commandments which He gave His people through His Son;
and the friends and fellow-councilors are the holy angels who were first
created; and the Master’s absence from home is the time that remains until
His appearing.” I said to him, “Sir, all these are great, and marvelous, and
glorious things. Could I, therefore,” I continued, “understand them? No,
nor could any other man, even if exceedingly wise. Moreover,” I added,
“explain to me what I am about to ask you.” “Say what you wish,” he
replied. “Why, sir,” I asked, “is the Son of God in the parable in the form
of a slave?”

CHAPTER 6

“Hear,” he answered: “the Son of God is not in the form of a slave, but in
great power and might.” “How so, sir?” I said; “I do not understand.”
“Because,” he answered, “God planted the vineyard, that is to say, He
created the people, and gave them to His Son; and the Son appointed His
angels over them to keep them; and He Himself purged away their sins,
having suffered many trials and undergone many labors, for no one is able
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to dig without labor and toil. He Himself, then, having purged away the
sins of the people, showed them the paths of life by giving them the law
which He received from His Father. [You see,” he said, “that He is the
Lord of the people, having received all authority from His Father.] And
why the Lord took His Son as councilor, and the glorious angels, regarding
the heirship of the slave, listen. The holy, pre-existent Spirit, that created
every creature, God made to dwell in flesh, which He chose. This flesh,
accordingly, in which the Holy Spirit dwelt, was nobly subject to that
Spirit, walking religiously and chastely, in no respect defiling the Spirit;
and accordingly, after living excellently and purely, and after laboring and
co-operating with the Spirit, and having in everything acted vigorously and
courageously along with the Holy Spirit, He assumed it as a partner with
it. For this conduct of the flesh pleased Him, because it was not defiled on
the earth while having the Holy Spirit. He took, therefore, as fellow-
councilors His Son and the glorious angels, in order that this flesh, which
had been subject to the body without a fault, might have some place of
tabernacle, and that it might not appear that the reward [of its servitude
had been lost], for the flesh that has been found without spot or
defilement, in which the Holy Spirit dwelt, [will receive a reward]. You
have now the explanation of this parable also.”

CHAPTER 7

“I rejoice, sir,” I said, “to hear this explanation.” “Hear,” again he replied:
“Keep this flesh pure and stainless, that the Spirit which inhabits it may
bear witness to it, and your flesh may be justified. See that the thought
never arise in your mind that this flesh of yours is corruptible, and you
misuse it by any act of defilement. If you defile your flesh, you will also
defile the Holy Spirit; and if you defile your flesh [and spirit], you will
not live.” “And if any one, sir,” I said, “has been hitherto ignorant, before
he heard these words, how can such man be saved who has defiled his
flesh?” “Respecting former sins of ignorance,” he said, “God alone is able
to heal them, for to Him belongs all power. [But be on your guard now,
and the all-powerful and compassionate God will heal former
transgressions], if for the time to come you defile not your body nor your
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spirit; for both are common, and cannot be defiled, the one without the
other: keep both therefore pure, and you will live unto God.”

SIMILITUDE SIXTH

OF THE TWO CLASSES OF VOLUPTUOUS MEN,
AND OF THEIR DEATH, FALLING AWAY, AND
THE DURATION OF THEIR PUNISHMENT

CHAPTER 1

Sitting in my house, and glorifying the Lord for all that I had seen, and
reflecting on the commandments, that they are excellent, and powerful, and
glorious, and able to save a man’s soul, I said within myself, “I shall be
blessed if I walk in these commandments, and every one who walks in
them will be blessed.” While I was saying these words to myself, I
suddenly see him sitting beside me, and hear him thus speak: “Why are
you in doubt about the commandments which I gave you? They are
excellent: have no doubt about them at all, but put on faith in the Lord, and
you will walk in them, for I will strengthen you in them. These
commandments are beneficial to those who intend to repent: for if they do
not walk in them, their repentance is in vain You, therefore, who repent
cast away the wickedness of this world which wears you out; and by
putting on all the virtues of a holy life, you will be able to keep these
commandments, and will no longer add to the number of your sins. Walk,
therefore, in these commandments of mine, and you will live unto God. All
these things have been spoken to you by me.” And after he had uttered
these words, he said to me, “Let us go into the fields, and I will show you
the shepherds of the flocks.” “Let us go, sir,” I replied. And we came to a
certain plain, and he showed me a young man, a shepherd, clothed in a suit
of garments of a yellow color: and he was herding very many sheep, and
these sheep were feeding luxuriously, as it were, and riotously, and merrily
skipping hither and thither. The shepherd himself was merry, because of
his flock; and the appearance of the shepherd was joyous, and he was
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running about amongst his flock. [And other sheep I saw rioting and
luxuriating in one place, but not, however, leaping about.]

CHAPTER 2

And he said to me, “Do you see this shepherd?” “I see him, sir,” I said.
“This,” he answered, “is the angel of luxury and deceit: he wears out the
souls of the servants of God, and perverts them from the truth, deceiving
them with wicked desires, through which they will perish; for they forget
the commandments of the living God, and walk in deceits and empty
luxuries; and they are ruined by the angel, some being brought to death,
others to corruption:” I said to him, “Sir, I do not know the meaning of
these words, ‘to death, and to corruption.’” “Listen,” he said. “The sheep
which you saw merry and leaping about, are those which have torn
themselves away from God for ever, and have delivered themselves over to
luxuries and deceits [of this world. Among them there is no return to life
through repentance, because they have added to their other sins, and
blasphemed the name of the Lord. Such men therefore, are appointed unto
death. And the sheep which you saw not leaping, but feeding in one place,
are they who have delivered themselves over to luxury and deceit], but
have committed no blasphemy against the Lord. These have been
perverted from the truth: among them there is the hope of repentance, by
which it is possible to live. Corruption, then, has a hope of a kind of
renewal, but death has everlasting ruin.” Again I went forward a little way,
and he showed me a tall shepherd, somewhat savage in his appearance,
clothed in a white goatskin, and having a wallet on his shoulders, and a
very hard staff with branches, and a large whip. And he had a very sour
look, so that I was afraid of him, so forbidding was his aspect. This
shepherd, accordingly, was receiving the sheep from the young shepherd,
those, viz., that were rioting and luxuriating, but not leaping; and he cast
them into a precipitous place, full of thistles and thorns, so that it was
impossible to extricate the sheep from the thorns and thistles; but they
were completely entangled amongst them. These, accordingly, thus
entangled, pastured amongst the thorns and thistles, and were exceedingly
miserable, being beaten by him; and he drove them hither and thither, and
gave them no rest; and, altogether, these sheep were in a wretched plight.
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CHAPTER 3

Seeing them, therefore, so beaten and so badly used, I was grieved for
them, because they were so tormented, and had no rest at all. And I said to
the Shepherd who talked with me, “Sir, who is this shepherd, who is so
pitiless and severe, and so completely devoid of compassion for these
sheep?” “This,” he replied, “is the angel of punishment; and he belongs to
the just angels, and is appointed to punish. He accordingly takes those
who wander away from God, and who have walked in the desires and
deceits of this world, and chastises them as they deserve with terrible and
diverse punishments.” “I would know, sir,” I said, “Of what nature are
these diverse tortures and punishments?” “Hear,” he said, “the various
tortures and punishments. The tortures are such as occur during life. For
some are punished with losses, others with want, others with sicknesses
of various kinds, and others with all kinds of disorder and confusion;
others are insulted by unworthy persons, and exposed to suffering in
many other ways: for many, becoming unstable in their plans, try many
things, and none of them at all succeed, and they say they are not
prosperous in their undertakings; and it does not occur to their minds that
they have done evil deeds, but they blame the Lord. When, therefore, they
have been afflicted with all kinds of affliction, then are they delivered unto
me for good training, and they are made strong in the faith of the Lord; and
for the rest of the days of their life they are subject to the Lord with pure
hearts, and are successful in all their undertakings, obtaining from the Lord
everything they ask; and then they glorify the Lord, that they were
delivered to me, and no longer suffer any evil.”

CHAPTER 4

I said to him, “Sir, explain this also to me.” “What is it you ask?” he said.
“Whether, sir,” I continued, “they who indulge in luxury, and who are
deceived, are tortured for the same period of time that they have indulged
in luxury and deceit?” He said to me, “They are tortured in the same
manner.” [“They are tormented much less, sir,” I replied;] “for those who
are so luxurious and who forget God ought to be tortured seven-fold.” He
said to me “You are foolish, and do not understand the power of torment.”
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“Why, sir,” I said, “if I had understood it, I would not have asked you to
show me.” “Hear,” he said, “the power of both. The time of luxury and
deceit is one hour; but the hour of torment is equivalent to thirty days. If,
accordingly, a man indulge in luxury for one day, and be deceived and be
tortured for one day, the day of his torture is equivalent to a whole year.
For all the days of luxury, therefore, there are as many years of torture to
be undergone. You see, then,” he continued, “that the time of luxury and
deceit is very short, but that of punishment and torture long.”

CHAPTER 5

“Still,” I said, “I do not quite understand about the time of deceit, and
luxury, and torture; explain it to me more clearly.” He answered, and said
to me, “Your folly is persistent; and you do not wish to purify your heart,
and serve God. Have a care,” he added, “lest the time be fulfilled, and you
be found foolish. Hear now,” he added, “as you desire, that you may
understand these things. He who indulges in luxury, and is deceived for
one day, and who does what he wishes, is clothed with much foolishness,
and does not understand the act which he does until the morrow; for he
forgets what he did the day before. For luxury and deceit have no
memories, on account of the folly with which they are clothed; but when
punishment and torture cleave to a man for one day, he is punished and
tortured for a year; for punishment and torture have powerful memories.
While tortured and punished, therefore, for a whole year, he remembers at
last his luxury and deceit, and knows that on their account he suffers evil.
Every man, therefore, who is luxurious and deceived is thus tormented,
because, although having life, they have given themselves over to death.”
“What kinds of luxury, sir,” I asked, “are hurtful?” “Every act of a man
which he performs with pleasure,” he replied, “is an act of luxury; for the
sharp-tempered man, when gratifying his tendency, indulges in luxury; and
the adulterer, and the drunkard, and the back-biter, and the liar, and the
covetous man, and the thief, and he who does things like these, gratifies his
peculiar propensity, and in so doing indulges in luxury. All these acts of
luxury are hurtful to the servants of God. On account of these deceits,
therefore, do they suffer, who are punished and tortured. And there are
also acts of luxury which save men; for many who do good indulge in
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luxury, being carried away by their own pleasure: this luxury, however, is
beneficial to the servants of God, and gains life for such a man; but the
injurious acts of luxury before enumerated bring tortures and punishment
upon them; and if they continue in them and do not repent, they bring
death upon themselves.”

SIMILITUDE SEVENTH

THEY WHO REPENT MUST BRING
FORTH FRUITS WORTHY OF REPENTANCE
After a few days I saw him in the same plain where I had also seen the
shepherds; and he said to me, “What do you wish with me?” I said to him,
“Sir, that you would order the shepherd who punishes to depart out of
my house, because he afflicts me exceedingly.” “It is necessary,” he
replied, “that you be afflicted; for thus,” he continued, “did the glorious
angel command concerning you, as he wishes you to be tried.” “What have
I done which is so bad, sir,” I replied, “that I should be delivered over to
this angel?” “Listen,” he said: “Your sins are many, but not so great as to
require that you be delivered over to this angel; but your household has
committed great iniquities and sins, and the glorious angel has been
incensed at them on account of their deeds; and for this reason he
commanded you to be afflicted for a certain time, that they also might
repent, and purify themselves from every desire of this world. When,
therefore, they repent and are purified, then the angel of punishment will
depart.” I said to him, “Sir, if they have done such things as to incense the
glorious angel against them, yet what have I done?” He replied, “They
cannot be afflicted at all, unless you, the head of the house, be afflicted: for
when you are afflicted, of necessity they also suffer affliction; but if you
are in comfort, they can feel no affliction.” “Well, sir,” I said, “they have
repented with their whole heart.” “I know, too,” he answered, “that they
have repented with their whole heart: do you think, however, that the sins
of those who repent are remitted? Not altogether, but he who repents
must torture his own soul, and be exceedingly humble in all his conduct,
and be afflicted with many kinds of affliction; and if he endure the
afflictions that come upon him, He who created all things, and endued
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them with power, will assuredly have compassion, and will heal him; and
this will He do when He sees the heart of every penitent pure from every
evil thing: and it is profitable for you and for your house to suffer
affliction now. But why should I say much to you? You must be afflicted,
as that angel of the Lord commanded who delivered you to me. And for
this give thanks to the Lord, because He has deemed you worthy of
showing you beforehand this affliction, that, knowing it before it comes,
you may be able to bear it with courage.” I said to him, “Sir, be thou with
me, and I will be able to bear all affliction.” “I will be with you,” he said,
“and I will ask the angel of punishment to afflict you more lightly;
nevertheless, you will be afflicted for a little time, and again you will be re-
established in your house. Only continue humble, and serve the Lord in all
purity of heart, you and your children, and your house, and walk in my
commands which I enjoin upon you, and your repentance will be deep and
pure; and if you observe these things with your household, every affliction
will depart from you. And affliction,” he added, “will depart from all who
walk in these my commandments.”

SIMILITUDE EIGHTH

THE SINS OF THE ELECT AND OF THE PENITENT ARE OF
MANY KINDS, BUT ALL WILL BE REWARDED ACCORDING TO
THE MEASURE OF THEIR REPENTANCE AND GOOD WORKS

CHAPTER 1

He showed me a large willow tree overshadowing plains and mountains,
and under the shade of this willow had assembled all those who were
called by the name of the Lord. And a glorious angel of the Lord, who was
very tall, was standing beside the willow, having a large, pruning-knife, and
he was cutting little twigs from the willow and distributing them among
the people that were overshadowed by the willow; and the twigs which he
gave them were small, about a cubit, as it were, in length. And after they
had all received the twigs, the angel laid down the pruning-knife, and that
tree was sound, as I had seen it at first. And I marveled within myself,
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saying, “How is the tree sound, after so many branches have been cut
off?” And the Shepherd said to me, “Do not be surprised if the tree
remains sound after so many branches were lopped off; [but wait,] and
when you shall have seen everything, then it will be explained to you what
it means.” The angel who had distributed the branches among the people
again asked them from them, and in the order in which they had received
them were they summoned to him, and each one of them returned his
branch. And the angel of the Lord took and looked at them. From some he
received the branches withered and moth-eaten; those who returned
branches in that state the angel of the Lord ordered to stand apart. Others,
again, returned them withered, but not moth-eaten; and these he ordered to
stand apart. And others returned them half-withered, and these stood
apart; and others returned their branches half-withered and having cracks
in them, and these stood apart. [And others returned their branches green
and having cracks in them; and these stood apart.] And others returned
their branches, one-half withered and the other green; and these stood
apart. And others brought their branches two-thirds green and the
remaining third withered; and these stood apart. And others returned them
two-thirds withered and one-third green; and these stood apart. And
others returned their branches nearly all green, the smallest part only, the
top, being withered, but they had cracks in them; and these stood apart.
And of others very little was green, but the remaining parts withered; and
these stood apart. And others came bringing their branches green, as they
had received them from the angel. And the majority of the crowd returned
branches of that kind, and with these the angel was exceedingly pleased;
and these stood apart. [And others returned their branches green and
having offshoots; and these stood apart, and with these the angel was
exceedingly delighted.] And others returned their branches green and with
offshoots, and the offshoots had some fruit, as it were; and those men
whose branches were found to be of that kind were exceedingly joyful.
And the angel was exultant because of them; and the Shepherd also
rejoiced greatly because of them.
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CHAPTER 2

And the angel of the Lord ordered crowns to be brought; and there were
brought crowns, formed, as it were, of palms; and he crowned the men
who had returned the branches which had offshoots and some fruit, and
sent them away into the tower. And the others also he sent into the tower,
those, namely, who had returned branches that were green and had
offshoots but no fruit, having given them seals. And all who went into the
tower had the same clothing — white as snow. And those who returned
their branches green, as they had received them, he set free, giving them
clothing and seals. Now after the angel had finished these things, he said to
the Shepherd, “I am going away, and you will send these away within the
walls, according as each one is worthy to have his dwelling. And examine
their branches carefully, and so dismiss them; but examine them with care.
See that no one escape you,” he added; “and if any escape you, I will try
them at the altar.” Having said these words to the Shepherd, he departed.
And after the angel had departed, the Shepherd said to me, “Let us take
the branches of all these and plant them, and see if any of them will live.” I
said to him, “Sir, how can these withered branches live?” He answered,
and said, “This tree is a willow, and of a kind that is very tenacious of life.
If, therefore, the branches be planted, and receive a little moisture, many of
them will live. And now let us try, and pour waters upon them; and if any
of them live I shall rejoice with them, and if they do not I at least will not
be found neglectful.” And the Shepherd bade me call them as each one was
placed. And they came, rank by rank, and gave their branches to the
Shepherd. And the Shepherd received the branches, and planted them in
rows; and after he had planted them he poured much water upon them, so
that the branches could not be seen for the water; and after the branches
had drunk it in, he said to me, “Let us go, and return after a few days, and
inspect all the branches; for He who created this tree wishes all those to
live who received branches from it. And I also hope that the greater part of
these branches which received moisture and drank of the water will live.”
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CHAPTER 3

I said to him, “Sir, explain to me what this tree means, for I am perplexed
about it, because, after so many branches have been cut off, it continues
sound, and nothing appears to have been cut away from it. By this, now, I
am perplexed.” “Listen,” he said: “This great tree that casts its shadow
over plains, and mountains, and all the earth, is the law of God that was
given to the whole world; and this law is the Son of God, proclaimed to
the ends of the earth; and the people who are under its shadow are they
who have heard the proclamation, and have believed upon Him. And the
great and glorious angel Michael is he who has authority over this people,
and governs them; for this is he who gave them the law into the hearts of
believers: he accordingly superintends them to whom he gave it, to see if
they have kept the same. And you see the branches of each one, for the
branches are the law You see, accordingly, many branches that have been
rendered useless, and you will know them all — those who have not kept
the law; and you will see the dwelling of each one.” I said to him, “Sir,
why did he dismiss some into the tower, and leave others to you?” “All,”
he answered, “who transgressed the law which they received from him, he
left under my power for repentance; but all who have satisfied the law,
and kept it, he retains under his own authority.” “Who, then,” I continued,
“are they who were crowned, and who go to the tower?” “These are they
who have suffered on account of the law; but the others, and they who
returned their branches green, and with offshoots, but without fruit, are
they who have been afflicted on account of the law, but who have not
suffered nor denied their law; and they who returned their branches green
as they had received them, are the venerable, and the just, and they who
have walked carefully in a pure heart, and have kept the commandments of
the Lord. And the rest you will know when I have examined those
branches which have been planted and watered.”

CHAPTER 4

And after a few days we came to the place, and the Shepherd sat down in
the angel’s place, and I stood beside him. And he said to me, “Gird
yourself with pure, undressed linen made of sackcloth;” and seeing me
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girded, and ready to minister to him, “Summon,” he said, “the men to
whom belong the branches that were planted, according to the order in
which each one gave them in.” So I went away to the plain, and summoned
them all, and they all stood in their ranks. He said to them, “Let each one
pull out his own branch, and bring it to me.” The first to give in were those
who had them withered and cut; and because they were found to be thus
withered and cut, he commanded them to stand apart. And next they gave
them in who had them withered, but not cut. And some of them gave in
their branches green, and some withered and eaten as by a moth. Those
that gave them in green, accordingly, he ordered to stand apart; and those
who gave them in dry and cut, he ordered to stand along with the first.
Next they gave them in who had them half-withered and cracked; and
many of them gave them in green and without cracks; and some green and
with offshoots and fruits upon the offshoots, such as they had who went,
after being crowned, into the tower. And some handed them in withered
and eaten, and some withered and uneaten; and some as they were, half-
withered and cracked. And he commanded them each one to stand apart,
some towards their own rows, and others apart from them.

CHAPTER 5

Then they gave in their branches who had them green, but cracked: all
these gave them in green, and stood in their own row. And the Shepherd
was pleased with these, because they were all changed, and had lost their
cracks. And they also gave them in who had them half-green and half-
withered: of some, accordingly, the branches were found completely green;
of others, half-withered; of others, withered and eaten; of others, green,
and having offshoots. All these were sent away, each to his own row.
[Next they gave in who had them two parts green and one-third withered.
Many of them gave them half-withered; and others withered and rotten;
and others half-withered and cracked, and a few green. These all stood in
their own row.] And they gave them in who had them green, but to a very
slight extent withered and cracked. Of these, some gave them in green, and
others green and with offshoots. And these also went away to their own
row. Next they gave them who had a very small part green and the other
parts withered. Of these the branches were found for the most part green
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and having offshoots, and fruit upon the offshoots, and others altogether
green. With these branches the Shepherd was exceedingly pleased, because
they were found in this state. And these went away, each to his own row.

CHAPTER 6

After the Shepherd had examined the branches of them all, he said to me,
“I told you that this tree was tenacious of life. You see,” he continued,
“how many repented and were saved.” “I see, sir,” I replied. “That you
may behold,” he added, “the great mercy of the Lord, that it is great and
glorious, and that He has given His Spirit to those who are worthy of
repentance.” “Why then, sir,” I said, “did not all these repent?” He
answered, “To them whose heart He saw would become pure, and
obedient to Him, He gave power to repent with the whole heart. But to
them whose deceit and wickedness He perceived, and saw that they
intended to repent hypocritically, He did not grant repentance, lest they
should again profane His name.” I said to him, “Sir, show me now, with
respect to those who gave in the branches, of what sort they are, and their
abode, in order that they hearing it who believed, and received the seal, and
broke it, and did not keep it whole, may, on coming to a knowledge of
their deeds, repent, and receive from you. a seal, and may glorify the Lord
because He had compassion upon them, and sent you to renew their
spirits.” “Listen,” he said: “they whose branches were found withered and
moth-eaten are the apostates and traitors of the Church, who have
blasphemed the Lord in their sins, and have, moreover, been ashamed of
the name of the Lord by which they were called. These, therefore, at the
end were lost unto God. And you see that not a single one of them
repented, although they heard the words which I spake to them, which I
enjoined upon you. From such life departed. And they who gave them in
withered and undecayed, these also were near to them; for they were
hypocrites, and introducers of strange doctrines, and subverters of the
servants of God, especially of those who had sinned, not allowing them to
repent, but persuading them by foolish doctrines. These, accordingly, have
a hope of repentance. And you see that many of them also have repented
since I spake to them, and they will still repent. But all who will not
repent have lost their lives; and as many of them as repented became good,
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and their dwelling was appointed within the first walls; and some of them
ascended even into the tower. You see, then,” he said, “that repentance
involves life to sinners, but non-repentance death.

CHAPTER 7

“And as many as gave in the branches half-withered and cracked, hear also
about them. They whose branches were half-withered to the same extent
are the wavering; for they neither live, nor are they dead. And they who
have them half-withered and cracked are both waverers and slanderers,
[railing against the absent,] and never at peace with one another, but
always at variance. And yet to these also,” he continued, “repentance is
possible. You see,” he said, “that some of them have repented, and there is
still remaining in them,” he continued, “a hope of repentance. And as
many of them,” he added, “as have repented, shall have their dwelling in
the tower. And those of them who have been slower in repenting shall
dwell within the walls. And as many as do not repent at all, but abide in
their deeds, shall utterly perish. And they who gave in their branches green
and cracked were always faithful and good, though emulous of each other
about the foremost places, and about fame: now all these are foolish, in
indulging in such a rivalry. Yet they also, being naturally good, on hearing
my commandments, purified themselves, and soon repented. Their
dwelling, accordingly, was in the tower. But if any one relapse into strife,
he will be cast out of the tower, and will lose his life. Life is the
possession of all who keep the commandments of the Lord; but in the
commandments there is no rivalry in regard to the first places, or glory of
any kind, but in regard to patience and personal humility. Among such
persons, then, is the life of the Lord, but amongst the quarrelsome and
transgressors, death.

CHAPTER 8

“And they who gave in their branches half-green and half-withered, are
those who are immersed in business, and do not cleave to the saints. For
this reason, the one half of them is living, and the other half dead. Many,
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accordingly, who heard my commands repented, and those at least who
repented had their dwelling in the tower. But some of them at last fell
away: these, accordingly, have not repentance, for on account of their
business they blasphemed the Lord, and denied Him. They therefore lost
their lives through the wickedness which they committed. And many of
them doubted. These still have repentance in their power, if they repent
speedily; and their abode will be in the tower. But if they are slower in
repenting, they will dwell within the walls; and if they do not repent, they
too have lost their lives. And they who gave in their branches two-thirds
withered and one-third green, are those who have denied [the Lord] in
various ways. Many, however, repented, but some of them hesitated and
were in doubt. These, then, have repentance within their reach, if they
repent quickly, and do not remain in their pleasures; but if they abide in
their deeds, these, too, work to themselves death.

CHAPTER 9

“And they who returned their branches two-thirds withered and one-third
green, are those that were faithful indeed; but after acquiring wealth, and
becoming distinguished amongst the heathen, they clothed themselves with
great pride, and became lofty-minded, and deserted the truth, and did not
cleave to the righteous, but lived with the heathen, and this way of life
became more agreeable to them. They did not, however, depart from God,
but remained in the faith, although not working the works of faith. Many
of them accordingly repented, and their dwelling was in the tower. And
others continuing to live until the end with the heathen, and being
corrupted by their vain glories, [departed from God, serving the works and
deeds of the heathen.] These were reckoned with the heathen. But others
of them hesitated, not hoping to be saved on account of the deeds which
they had done; while others were in doubt, and caused divisions among
themselves. To those, therefore, who were in doubt on account of their
deeds, repentance is still open; but their repentance ought to be speedy,
that their dwelling may be in the tower. And to those who do not repent,
but abide in their pleasures, death is near.
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CHAPTER 10

“And they who give in their branches green, but having the tips withered
and cracked, these were always good, and faithful, and distinguished before
God; but they sinned a very little through indulging small desires, and
finding little faults with one another. But on hearing my words the greater
part of them quickly repented, and their dwelling was upon the tower. Yet
some of them were in doubt; and certain of them who were in doubt
wrought greater dissension. Among these, therefore, is hope of repentance,
because they were always good; and with difficulty will any one of them
perish. And they who gave up their branches withered, but having a very
small part green, are those who believed only, yet continue working the
works of iniquity. They never, however, departed from God, but gladly
bore His name, and joyfully received His servants into their houses.
Having accordingly heard of this repentance, they unhesitatingly repented,
and practice all virtue and righteousness; and some of them even [suffered,
being willingly put to death] knowing their deeds which they had done. Of
all these, therefore, the dwelling shall be in the tower.”

CHAPTER 11

And after he had finished the explanations of all the branches, he said to
me, “Go and tell them to every one, that they may repent, and they shall
live unto God. Because the Lord, having had compassion on all men, has
sent me to give repentance, although some are not worthy of it on account
of their works; but the Lord, being long-suffering, desires those who were
called by His Son to be saved.” I said to him, “Sir, I hope that all who have
heard them will repent; for I am persuaded that each one, on coming to a
knowledge of his own works, and fearing the Lord, will repent.” He
answered me, and said, “All who with their whole heart shall purify
themselves from their wickedness before enumerated, and shall add no
more to their sins, will receive healing from the Lord for their former
transgressions, if they do not hesitate at these commandments; and they
will live unto God. But do you walk in my commandments, and live.”
Having shown me these things, and spoken all these words, he said to me,
“And the rest I will show you after a few days.”
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SIMILITUDE NINTH

THE GREAT MYSTERIES IN THE BUILDING OF
THE MILITANT AND TRIUMPHANT CHURCH

CHAPTER 1

After I had written down the commandments and Similitudes of the
Shepherd, the angel of repentance, he came to me and said, “I wish to
explain to you what the Holy Spirit that spake with you in the form of the
Church showed you, for that Spirit is the Son of God. For, as you were
somewhat weak in the flesh, it was not explained to you by the angel.
When, however, you were strengthened by the Spirit, and your strength
was increased, so that you were able to see the angel also, then accordingly
was the building of the tower shown you by the Church. In a noble and
solemn manner did you see everything as if shown you by a virgin; but
now you see [them] through the same Spirit as if shown by an angel. You
must, however, learn everything from me with greater accuracy. For I was
sent for this purpose by the glorious angel to dwell in your house, that
you might see all things with power, entertaining no fear, even as it was
before.” And he led me away into Arcadia, to a round hill; and he placed
me on the top of the hill, and showed me a large plain, and round about the
plain twelve mountains, all having different forms. The first was black as
soot; and the second bare, without grass; and the third full of thorns and
thistles; and the fourth with grass half-withered, the upper parts of the
plants green, and the parts about the roots withered; and some of the
grasses, when the sun scorched them, became withered. And the fifth
mountain had green grass, and was ragged. And the sixth mountain was
quite full of clefts, some small and others large; and the clefts were grassy,
but the plants were not very vigorous, but rather, as it were, decayed. The
seventh mountain, again, had cheerful pastures, and the whole mountain
was blooming, and every kind of cattle and birds were feeding upon that
mountain; and the more the cattle and the birds ate, the more the grass of
that mountain flourished. And the eighth mountain was full of fountains,
and every kind of the Lord’s creatures drank of the fountains of that
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mountain. But the ninth mountain [had no water at all, and was wholly a
desert, and had within it deadly serpents, which destroy men. And the
tenth mountain had very large trees, and was completely shaded, and
under the shadow of the trees sheep lay resting and ruminating. And the
eleventh mountain was very thickly wooded, and those trees were
productive, being adorned with various sorts of fruits, so that any one
seeing them would desire to eat of their fruits. The twelfth mountain,
again, was wholly white, and its aspect was cheerful, and the mountain in
itself was very beautiful.

CHAPTER 2

And in the middle of the plain he showed me a large white rock that had
arisen out of the plain. And the rock was more lofty than the mountains,
rectangular in shape, so as to be capable of containing the whole world:
and that rock was old, having a gate cut out of it; and the cutting out of the
gate seemed to me as if recently done. And the gate glittered to such a
degree under the sunbeams, that I marveled at the splendor of the gate; and
round about the gate were standing twelve virgins. The four who stood at
the corners seemed to me more distinguished than the others — they were
all, however, distinguished — and they were standing at the four parts of
the gate; two virgins between each part. And they were clothed with linen
tunics, and gracefully girded, having their right shoulders exposed, as if
about to bear some burden. Thus they stood ready; for they were
exceedingly cheerful and eager. After I had seen these things, I marveled in
myself, because I was beholding great and glorious sights. And again I was
perplexed about the virgins, because, although so delicate, they were
standing courageously, as if about to carry the whole heavens. And the
Shepherd said to me “Why are you reasoning in yourself, and perplexing
your mind, and distressing yourself? for the things which you cannot
understand, do not attempt to comprehend, as if you were wise; but ask
the Lord, that you may receive understanding and know them. You cannot
see what is behind you, but you see what is before. Whatever, then, you
cannot see, let alone, and do not torment yourself about it: but what you
see, make yourself master of it, and do not waste your labor about other
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things; and I will explain to you everything that I show you. Look
therefore, on the things that remain.”

CHAPTER 3

I saw six men come, tall, and distinguished, and similar in appearance, and
they summoned a multitude of men. And they who came were also tall
men, and handsome, and powerful; and the six men commanded them to
build a tower above the rock. And great was the noise of those men who
came to build the tower, as they ran hither and thither around the gate.
And the virgins who stood around the gate told the men to hasten to build
the tower. Now the virgins had spread out their hands, as if about to
receive something from the men. And the six men commanded stones to
ascend out of a certain pit, and to go to the building of the tower. And
there went up ten shining rectangular stones, not hewn in a quarry. And
the six men called the virgins, and bade them carry all the stones that were
intended for the building, and to pass through the gate, and give them to
the men who were about to build the tower. And the virgins put upon one
another the ten first stones which had ascended from the pit, and carried
them together, each stone by itself.

CHAPTER 4

And as they stood together around the gate, those who seemed to be
strong carried them, and they stooped down under the corners of the
stone; and the others stooped down under the sides of the stones. And in
this way they carried all the stones. And they carried them through the
gate as they were commanded, and gave them to the men for the tower;
and they took the stones and proceeded with the building. Now the tower
was built upon the great rock, and above the gate. Those ten stones were
prepared as the foundation for the building of the tower. And the rock and
gate were the support of the whole of the tower. And after the ten stones
other twenty [five] came up out of the pit, and these were fitted into the
building of the tower, being carried by the virgins as before. And after
these ascended thirty-five. And these in like manner were fitted into the
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tower. And after these other forty stones came up; and all these were cast
into the building of the tower, [and there were four rows in the foundation
of the tower,] and they ceased ascending from the pit. And the builders
also ceased for a little. And again the six men commanded the multitude of
the crowd to bear stones from the mountains for the building of the tower.
They were accordingly brought from all the mountains of various colors,
and being hewn by the men were given to the virgins; and the virgins
carried them through the gate, and gave them for the building of the tower.
And when the stones of various colors were placed in the building, they all
became white alike, and lost their different colors. And certain stones were
given by the men for the building, and these did not become shining; but as
they were placed, such also were they found to remain: for they were not
given by the virgins, nor carried through the gate. These stones, therefore,
were not in keeping with the others in the building of the tower. And the
six men, seeing these unsuitable stones in the building, commanded them to
be taken away, and to be carried away down to their own place whence
they had been taken; [and being removed one by one, they were laid aside;
and] they say to the men who brought the stones, “Do not ye bring any
stones at all for the building, but lay them down beside the tower, that the
virgins may carry them through the gate, and may give them for the
building. For unless,” they said, “they be carried through the gate by the
hands of the virgins, they cannot change their colors: do not toil,
therefore,” they said, “to no purpose.”

CHAPTER 5

And on that day the building was finished, but the tower was not
completed; for additional building was again about to be added, and there
was a cessation in the building. And the six men commanded the builders
all to withdraw a little distance, and to rest, but enjoined the virgins not to
withdraw from the tower; and it seemed to me that the virgins had been
left to guard the tower. Now after all had withdrawn, and were resting
themselves, I said to the Shepherd, “What is the reason that the building of
the tower was not finished? “The tower,” he answered, “cannot be
finished just yet, until the Lord of it come and examine the building, in
order that, if any of the stones be found to be decayed, he may change
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them: for the tower is built according to his pleasure.” “I would like to
know, sir,” I said, “what is the meaning of the building of this tower, and
what the rock and gate, and the mountains, and the virgins mean, and the
stones that ascended from the pit, and were not hewn, but came as they
were to the building. Why, in the first place, were ten stones placed in the
foundation, then twenty-five, then thirty-five, then forty? and I wish also
to know about the stones that went to the building, and were again taken
out and returned to their own place? On all these points put my mind at
rest, sir, and explain them to me.” “If you are not found to be curious
about trifles,” he replied, “you shall know everything. For after a few days
[we shall come hither, and you will see the other things that happen to this
tower, and will know accurately all the Similitudes.” After a few days] we
came to the place where we sat down. And he said to me, “Let us go to the
tower; for the master of the tower is coming to examine it.” And we came
to the tower, and there was no one at all near it, save the virgins only. And
the Shepherd asked the virgins if perchance the master of the tower had
come; and they replied that he was about to come to examine the building.

CHAPTER 6

And, behold, after a little I see an array of many men coming, and in the
midst of them one man of so remarkable a size as to overtop the tower.
And the six men who had worked upon the building were with him, and
many other honorable men were around him. And the virgins who kept the
tower ran forward and kissed him, and began to walk near him around the
tower. And that man examined the building carefully, feeling every stone
separately; and holding a rod in his hand, he struck every stone in the
building three times. And when he struck them, some of them became
black as soot, and some appeared as if covered with scabs, and some
cracked, and some mutilated, and some neither white nor black, and some
rough and not in keeping with the other stones, and some having [very
many] stains: such were the varieties of decayed stones that were found in
the building. He ordered all these to be taken out of the tower, and to be
laid down beside it, and other stones to be brought and put in their stead.
[And the builders asked him from what mountain he wished them to be
brought and put in their place.] And he did not command them to be
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brought from the mountains, [but he bade them be brought from a certain
plain which was near at hand.] And the plain was dug up, and shining
rectangular stones were found, and some also of a round shape; and all the
stones which were in that plain were brought, and carried through the gate
by the virgins. And the rectangular stones were hewn, and put in place of
those that were taken away; but the rounded stones were not put into the
building, because they were hard to hew, and appeared to yield slowly to
the chisel; they were deposited, however, beside the tower, as if intended
to be hewn and used in the building, for they were exceedingly brilliant.

CHAPTER 7

The glorious man, the Lord of the whole tower, having accordingly
finished these alterations, called to him the Shepherd, and delivered to him
all the stones that were lying beside the tower, that had been rejected from
the building, and said to him, “Carefully clean all these stones, and put
aside such for the building of the tower as may harmonize with the others;
and those that do not, throw far away from the tower.” [Having given
these orders to the Shepherd, he departed from the tower], with all those
with whom he had come. Now the virgins were standing around the tower,
keeping it. I said again to the Shepherd, “Can these stones return to the
building of the tower, after being rejected?” He answered me, and said,
“Do you see these stones?” “I see them, sir,” I replied. “The greater part
of these stones,” he said, “I will hew, and put into the building, and they
will harmonize with the others.” “How, sir,” I said, “can they, after being
cut all round about, fill up the same space?” He answered, “Those that
shall be found small will be thrown into the middle of the building, and
those that are larger will be placed on the outside, and they will hold them
together.” Having spoken these words, he said to me, “Let us go, and after
two days let us come and clean these stones, and cast them into the
building; for all things around the tower must be cleaned, lest the Master
come suddenly, and find the places about the tower dirty, and be
displeased, and these stones be not returned for the building of the tower,
and I also shall seem to be neglectful towards the Master.” And after two
days we came to the tower, and he said to me, “Let us examine all the
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stones, and ascertain those which may return to the building.” I said to
him, “Sir, let us examine them!”

CHAPTER 8

And beginning, we first examined the black stones: And such as they had
been taken out of the building, were they found to remain; and the
Shepherd ordered them to be removed out of the tower, and to be placed
apart. Next he examined those that had scabs; and he took and hewed
many of these, and commanded the virgins to take them up and cast them
into the building. And the virgins lifted them up, and put them in the
middle of the building of the tower. And the rest he ordered to be laid
down beside the black ones; for these, too, were found to be black. He next
examined those that had cracks; and he hewed many of these, and
commanded them to be carried by the virgins to the building: and they
were placed on the outside, because they were found to be sounder than
the others; but the rest, on account of the multitude of the cracks, could
not be hewn, and for this reason, therefore, they were rejected from the
building of the tower. He next examined the chipped stones, and many
amongst these were found to be black, and some to have great crocks. And
these also he commanded to be laid down along with those which had been
rejected. But the remainder, after being cleaned and hewn, he commanded
to be placed in the building. And the virgins took them up, and fitted them
into the middle of the building of the tower, for they were somewhat
weak. He next examined those that were half white and half black, and
many of them were found to be black. And he commanded these also to be
taken away along with those which had been rejected. And the rest were
all taken away by the virgins; for, being white, they were fitted by the
virgins themselves into the building. And they were placed upon the
outside, because they were found to be sound, so as to be able to support
those which were placed in the middle, for no part of them at all was
chipped. He next examined those that were rough and hard; and a few of
them were rejected because they could not be hewn, as they were found
exceedingly hard. But the rest of them were hewn, and carried by the
virgins, and fitted into the middle of the building of the tower; for they
were somewhat weak. He next examined those that had stains; and of these
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a very few were black, and were thrown aside with the others; but the
greater part were found to be bright, and these were fitted by the virgins
into the building, but on account of their strength were placed on the
outside.

CHAPTER 9

He next came to examine the white and rounded stones, and said to me,
“What are we to do with these stones?” “How do I know, sir?” “I replied.
“Have you no intentions regarding them?” “Sir,” I answered, “I am not
acquainted with this art, neither am I a stone-cutter, nor can I tell.” “Do
you not see,” he said, “that they are exceedingly round? and if I wish to
make them rectangular, a large portion of them must be cut away; for some
of them must of necessity be put into the building.” “If therefore,” I said,
“they must, why do you torment yourself, and not at once choose for the
building those which you prefer, and fit them into it?” He selected the
larger ones among them, and the shining ones, and hewed them; and the
virgins carried and fitted them into the outside parts of the building. And
the rest which remained over were carried away, and laid down on the
plain from which they were brought. They were not, however, rejected,
“because,” he said, “there remains yet a little addition to be built to the
tower. And the Lord of this tower wishes all the stones to be fitted into
the building, because they are exceedingly bright.” And twelve women
were called, very beautiful in form, clothed in black, and with disheveled
hair. And these women seemed to me to be fierce. But the Shepherd
commanded them to lift the stones that were rejected from the building,
and to carry them away to the mountains from which they had been
brought. And they were merry, and carried away all the stones, and put
them in the place whence they had been taken. Now after all the stones
were removed, and there was no longer a single one lying around the tower,
he said, “Let us go round the tower and see, lest there be any defect in it.”
So I went round the tower along with him. And the Shepherd, seeing that
the tower was beautifully built, rejoiced exceedingly; for the tower was
built in such a way, that, on seeing it, I coveted the building of it, for it
was constructed as if built of one stone, without a single joining. And the
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stone seemed as if hewn out of the rock; having to me the appearance of a
monolith.

CHAPTER 10

And as I walked along with him, I was full of joy, beholding so many
excellent things. And the Shepherd said to me, “Go and bring unslacked
lime and fine-baked clay, that I may fill up the forms of the stones that
were taken and thrown into the building; for everything about the tower
must be smooth.” And I did as he commanded me, and brought it to him.
“Assist me,” he said, “and the work will soon be finished.” He accordingly
filled up the forms of the stones that were returned to the building, and
commanded the places around the tower to be swept and to be cleaned;
and the virgins took brooms and swept the place, and carried all the dirt
out of the tower, and brought water, and the ground around the tower
became cheerful and very beautiful. Says the Shepherd to me, “Everything
has been cleared away; if the Lord of the tower come to inspect it, he can
have no fault to find with us.” Having spoken these words, he wished to
depart; but I laid hold of him by the wallet, and began to adjure him by the
Lord that he would explain what he had showed me. He said to me, “I
must rest a little, and then I shall explain to you everything; wait for me
here until I return.” I said to him, “Sir, what can I do here alone?” “You are
not alone,” he said, “for these virgins are with you.” “Give me in charge to
them, then,” I replied. The Shepherd called them to him, and said to them,
“I entrust him to you until I come,” and went away. And I was alone with
the virgins; and they were rather merry, but were friendly to me,
especially the four more distinguished of them.

CHAPTER 11

The virgins said to me, “The Shepherd does not come here today.” “What,
then,” said I, “am I to do?” They replied, “Wait for him until he comes;
and if he comes he will converse with you, and if he does not come you
will remain here with us until he does come.” I said to them, “I will wait
for him until it is late; and if he does not arrive, I will go away into the
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house, and come back early in the morning.” And they answered and said
to me, “You were entrusted to us; you cannot go away from us.” “Where,
then,” I said, “am I to remain? “You will sleep with us,” they replied, “as
a brother, and not as a husband: for you are our brother, and for the time
to come we intend to abide with you, for we love you exceedingly!” But I
was ashamed to remain with them. And she who seemed to be the first
among them began to kiss me. [And the others seeing her kissing me, began
also to kiss me], and to lead me round the tower, and to play with me.
And I, too, became like a young man, and began to play with them: for
some of them formed a chorus, and others danced, and others sang; and I,
keeping silence, walked with them around the tower, and was merry with
them. And when it grew late I wished to go into the house; and they would
not let me, but detained me. So I remained with them during the night, and
slept beside the tower. Now the virgins spread their linen tunics on the
ground, and made me lie down in the midst of them; and they did nothing
at all but pray; and I without ceasing prayed with them, and not less than
they. And the virgins rejoiced because I thus prayed. And I remained there
with the virgins until the next day at the second hour. Then the Shepherd
returned, and said to the virgins, “Did you offer him any insult?” “Ask
him,” they said. I said to him, “Sir, I was delighted that I remained with
them.” “On what,” he asked, “did you sup?” “I supped, sir,” I replied,
“on the words of the Lord the whole night.” “Did they receive you well?”
he inquired. “Yes, sir,” I answered. “Now,” he said, “what do you wish to
hear first?” “I wish to hear in the order,” I said, “in which you showed me
from the beginning. I beg of you, sir, that as I shall ask you, so also you
will give me the explanation.” “As you wish,” he replied, “so also will I
explain to you, and will conceal nothing at all from you.”

CHAPTER 12

“First of all, sir,” I said, “explain this to me: What is the meaning of the
rock and the gate?” “This rock,” he answered, “and this gate are the Son of
God.” “How, sir?” I said; “the rock is old, and the gate is new.” “Listen,”
he said, “and understand, O ignorant man. The Son of God is older than all
His creatures, so that He was a fellow-councilor with the Father in His
work of creation: for this reason is He old.” “And why is the gate new,
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sir?” I said. “Because,” he answered, “He became manifest in the last days
of the dispensation: for this reason the gate was made new, that they who
are to be saved by it might enter into the kingdom of God. You saw,” he
said, “that those stones which came in through the gate were used for the
building of the tower, and that those which did not come, were again
thrown back to their own place?” “I saw, sir,” I replied. “In like manner,”
he continued, “no one shall enter into the kingdom of God unless he
receive His holy name. For if you desire to enter into a city, and that city
is surrounded by a wall, and has but one gate, can you enter into that city
save through the gate which it has?” “Why, how can it be otherwise, sir?”
I said. “If, then, you cannot enter into the city except through its gate, so,
in like manner, a man cannot otherwise enter into the kingdom of God than
by the name of His beloved Son. You saw,” he added, “the multitude who
were building the tower?” “I saw them, sir,” I said. “Those,” he said, “are
all glorious angels, and by them accordingly is the Lord surrounded. And
the gate is the Son of God. This is the one entrance to the Lord. In no
other way, then, shall any one enter in to Him except through His Son.
You saw,” he continued, “the six men, and the tail and glorious man in the
midst of them, who walked round the tower, and rejected the stones from
the building?” “I saw him, sir,” I answered. “The glorious man,” he said,
“is the Son of God, and those six glorious angels are those who support
Him on the right hand and on the left. None of these glorious angels,” he
continued, “will enter in unto God apart from Him. Whosoever does not
receive His name, shall not enter into the kingdom of God.”

CHAPTER 13

“And the tower,” I asked, “what does it mean?” “This tower,” he replied,
“is the Church.” “And these virgins, who are they?” “They are Holy
Spirits, and men cannot otherwise be found in the kingdom of God unless
these have put their clothing upon them: for if you receive the name only,
and do not receive from them the clothing, they are of no advantage to
you. For these virgins are the powers of the Son of God. If you bear His
name but possess not His power, it will be in vain that you bear His name.
Those stones,” he continued, “which you saw rejected bore His name, but
did not put on the clothing of the virgins.” “Of what nature is their
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clothing, sir?” I asked. “Their very names,” he said, “are their clothing.
Every one who bears the name of the Son of God, ought to bear the names
also of these; for the Son Himself bears the names of these virgins. As
many stones,” he continued, “as you saw [come into the building of the
tower through the hands] of these virgins, and remaining, have been
clothed with their strength. For this reason you see that the tower became
of one stone with the rock. So also they who have believed on the Lord
through His Son, and are clothed with these spirits, shall become one
spirit, one body, and the color of their garments shall be one. And the
dwelling of such as bear the names of the virgins is in the tower.” “Those
stones, sir, that were rejected,” I inquired, “on what account were they
rejected? for they passed through the gate, and were placed by the hands
of the virgins in the building of the tower.” “Since you take an interest in
everything,” he replied, “and examine minutely, hear about the stones that
were rejected. These all,” he said, “received the name of God, and they
received also the strength of these virgins. Having received, then, these
spirits, they were made strong, and were with the servants of God; and
theirs was one spirit, and one body, and one clothing. For they were of the
same mind, and wrought righteousness. After a certain time, however, they
were persuaded by the women whom you saw clothed in black, and having
their shoulders exposed and their hair disheveled, and beautiful in
appearance. Having seen these women, they desired to have them, and
clothed themselves with their strength, and put off the strength of the
virgins. These, accordingly, were rejected from the house of God, and were
given over to these women. But they who were not deceived by the
beauty of these women remained in the house of God. You have,” he said,
“the explanation of those who were rejected.”

CHAPTER 14

“What, then, sir,” I said, “if these men, being such as they are, repent and
put away their desires after these women, and return again to the virgins,
and walk in their strength and in their works, shall they not enter into the
house of God? “They shall enter in,” he said, “if they put away the works
of these women, and put on again the strength of the virgins, and walk in
their works. For on this account was there a cessation in the building, in
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order that, if these repent, they may depart into the building of the tower.
But if they do not repent, then others will come in their place, and these at
the end will be cast out. For all these things I gave thanks to the Lord,
because He had pity on all that call upon His name; and sent the angel of
repentance to us who sinned against Him, and renewed our spirit; and
when we were already destroyed, and had no hope of life, He restored us
to newness of life.” “Now, sir,” I continued, “show me why the tower
was not built upon the ground, but upon the rock and upon the gate.”
“Are you still,” he said, “without sense and understanding?” “I must, sir,”
I said, “ask you of all things, because I am wholly unable to understand
them; for all these things are great and glorious, and difficult for man to
understand.” “Listen,” he said: “the name of the Son of God is great, and
cannot be contained, and supports the whole world. If, then, the whole
creation is supported by the Son of God, what think ye of those who are
called by Him, and bear the name of the Son of God, and walk in His
commandments? do you see what kind of persons He supports? Those
who bear His name with their whole heart. He Himself, accordingly,
became a foundation to them, and supports them with joy, because they
are not ashamed to bear His name.”

CHAPTER 15

“Explain to me, sir,” I said, “the names of these virgins, and of those
women who were clothed in black raiment.” “Hear,” he said, “the names of
the stronger virgins who stood at the corners. The first is Faith, the second
Continence, the third Power, the fourth Patience. And the others standing
in the midst of these have the following names: Simplicity, Innocence,
Purity, Cheerfulness, Truth, Understanding, Harmony, Love. He who
bears these names and that of the Son of God will be able to enter into the
kingdom of God. Hear, also,” he continued, “the names of the women who
had the black garments; and of these four are stronger than the rest. The
first is Unbelief, the second: Incontinence, the third Disobedience, the
fourth Deceit. And their followers are called Sorrow, Wickedness,
Wantonness, Anger, Falsehood, Folly, Backbiting, Hatred. The servant of
God who bears these names shall see, indeed, the kingdom of God, but
shall not enter into it.” “And the stones, sir,” I said, “which were taken
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out of the pit and fitted into the building: what are they?” “The first,” he
said, “the ten, viz., that were placed as a foundation, are the first
generation, and the twenty-five the second generation, of righteous men;
and the thirty-five are the prophets of God and His ministers; and the
forty are the apostles and teachers of the preaching of the Son of God.”
“Why, then, sir,” I asked, “did the virgins carry these stones also through
the gate, and give them for the building of the tower?” “Because,” he
answered, “these were the first who bore these spirits, and they never
departed from each other, neither the spirits from the men nor the men
from the spirits, but the spirits remained with them until their falling
asleep. And unless they had had these spirits with them, they would not
have been of use for the building of this tower.”

CHAPTER 16

“Explain to me a little further, sir,” I said. “What is it that you desire?” he
asked. “Why, sir,” I said, “did these stones ascend out of the pit, and be
applied to the building of the tower, after having borne these spirits?”
“They were obliged,” he answered, “to ascend through water in order that
they might be made alive; for, unless they laid aside the deadness of their
life, they could not in any other way enter into the kingdom of God.
Accordingly, those also who fell asleep received the seal of the Son of
God. For,” he continued, “before a man bears the name of the Son of God
he is dead; but when he receives the seal he lays aside his deadness, and
obtains life. The seal, then, is the water: they descend into the water dead,
and they arise alive. And to them, accordingly, was this seal preached, and
they made use of it that they might enter into the kingdom of God.”
“Why, sir,” I asked, “did the forty stones also ascend with them out of the
pit, having already received the seal?” “Because,” he said, “these apostles
and teachers who preached the name of the Son of God, after falling asleep
in the power and faith of the Son of God, preached it not only to those
who were asleep, but themselves also gave them the seal of the preaching.
Accordingly they descended with them into the water, and again ascended.
[But these descended alive and rose up again alive; whereas they who had
previously fallen asleep descended dead, but rose up again alive.] By
these, then, were they quickened and made to know the name of the Son of
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God. For this reason also did they ascend with them, and were fitted along
with them into the building of the tower, and, untouched by the chisel,
were built in along with them. For they slept in righteousness and in great
purity, but only they had not this seal. You have accordingly the
explanation of these also.”

CHAPTER 17

“I understand, sir,” I replied. “Now, sir,” I continued, “explain to me, with
respect to the mountains, why their forms are various and diverse.”
“Listen,” he said: “these mountains are the twelve tribes, which inhabit the
whole world. The Son of God, accordingly, was preached unto them by
the apostles.” “But why are the mountains of various kinds, some having
one form, and others another? Explain that to me, sir.” “Listen,” he
answered: “these twelve tribes that inhabit the whole world are twelve
nations. And they vary in prudence and understanding. As numerous,
then, as are the varieties of the mountains which you saw, are also the
diversities of mind and understanding among these nations. And I will
explain to you the actions of each one.” “First, sir,” I said, “explain this:
why, when the mountains are so diverse, their stones, when placed in the
building, became one color, shining like those also that had ascended out of
the pit.” “Because,” he said, “all the nations that dwell under heaven were
called by hearing and believing upon the name of the Son of God. Having,
therefore, received the seal, they had one understanding and one mind; and
their faith became one, and their love one, and with the name they bore
also the spirits of the virgins. On this account the building of the tower
became of one color, bright as the sun. But after they had entered into the
same place, and became one body, certain of these defiled themselves, and
were expelled from the race of the righteous, and became again what they
were before, or rather worse.”

CHAPTER 18

“How, sir,” I said, “did they become worse, after having known God?”
“He that does not know God,” he answered, “and practices evil, receives a
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certain chastisement for his wickedness; but he that has known God, ought
not any longer to do evil, but to do good. If, accordingly, when he ought to
do good, he do evil, does not he appear to do greater evil than he who does
not know God? For this reason, they who have not known God and do
evil are condemned to death; but they who have known God, and have
seen His mighty works, and still continue in evil, shall be chastised
doubly, and shall die for ever. In this way, then, will the Church of God be
purified. For as you saw the stones rejected from the tower, and delivered
to the evil spirits, and cast out thence, so [they also shall be cast out, and]
there shall be one body of the purified; as the tower also became, as it
were, of one stone after its purification. In like manner also shall it be with
the Church of God, after it has been purified, and has rejected the wicked,
and the hypocrites, and the blasphemers, and the waverers, and those who
commit wickedness of different kinds. After these have been cast away,
the Church of God shall be one body, of one mind, of one understanding,
of one faith, of one love. And then the Son of God will be exceeding glad,
and shall rejoice over them, because He has received His people pure.”
“All these things, sir,” I said, “are great and glorious.
“Moreover, sir,” I said, “explain to me the power and the actions of each
one of the mountains, that every soul, trusting in the Lord, and hearing it,
may glorify His great, and marvelous, and glorious name.” “Hear,” he said,
“the diversity of the mountains and of the twelve nations.

CHAPTER 19

“From the first mountain, which was black, they that believed are the
following: apostates and blasphemers against the Lord, and betrayers of
the servants of God. To these repentance is not open; but death lies before
them, and on this account also are they black, for their race is a lawless
one. And from the second mountain, which was bare, they who believed
are the following: hypocrites, and teachers of wickedness. And these,
accordingly, are like the former, not having any fruits of righteousness; for
as their mountain was destitute of fruit, so also such men have a name
indeed, but are empty of faith, and there is no fruit of truth in them. They
indeed have repentance in their power, if they repent quickly; but if they
are slow in so doing, they shall die along with the former.” “Why, sir,” I
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said, “have these repentance, but the former not? for their actions are
nearly the same.” “On this account,” he said, “have these repentance,
because they did not blaspheme their Lord, nor become betrayers of the
servants of God; but on account of their desire of possessions they
became hypocritical, and each one taught according to the desires of men
that were sinners. But they will suffer a certain punishment; and
repentance is before them, because they were not blasphemers or traitors.

CHAPTER 20

“And from the third mountain, which had thorns and thistles, they who
believed are the following. There are some of them rich, and others
immersed in much business. The thistles are the rich, and the thorns are
they who are immersed in much business. Those, [accordingly, who are
entangled in many various kinds of business, do not] cleave to the servants
of God, but wander away, being choked by their business transactions;
and the rich cleave with difficulty to the servants of God, fearing lest these
should ask something of them. Such persons, accordingly, shall have
difficulty in entering the kingdom of God. For as it is disagreeable to walk
among thistles with naked feet, so also it is hard for such to enter the
kingdom of God. But to all these repentance, and that speedy, is open, in
order that what they did not do in former times they may make up for in
these days, and do some good, and they shall live unto God. But if they
abide in their deeds, they shall be delivered to those women, who will put
them to death.

CHAPTER 21

“And from the fourth mountain, which had much grass, the upper parts of
the plants green, and the parts about the roots withered, and some also
scorched by the sun, they who believed are the following: the doubtful,
and they who have the Lord upon their lips, but have Him not in their
heart. On this account their foundations are withered, and have no
strength; and their words alone live, while their works are dead. Such
persons are [neither alive nor] dead. They resemble, therefore, the
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waverers: for the wavering are neither withered nor green, being neither
living nor dead. For as their blades, on seeing the sun, were withered, so
also the wavering, when they hear of affliction, on account of their fear,
worship idols, and are ashamed of the name of their Lord. Such, then, are
neither alive nor dead. But these also may yet live, if they repent quickly;
and if they do not repent, they are already delivered to the women, who
take away their life.

CHAPTER 22

“And from the fifth mountain, which had green grass, and was rugged,
they who believed are the following: believers, indeed, but slow to learn,
and obstinate, and pleasing themselves, wishing to know everything, and
knowing nothing at all. On account of this obstinacy of theirs,
understanding departed from them, and foolish senselessness entered into
them. And they praise themselves as having wisdom, and desire to become
teachers, although destitute of sense. On account, therefore, of this
loftiness of mind, many became vain, exalting themselves: for self-will and
empty confidence is a great demon. Of these, accordingly, many were
rejected, but some repented and believed, and subjected themselves to
those that had understanding, knowing their own foolishness. And to the
rest of this class repentance is open; for they were not wicked, but rather
foolish, and without understanding. If these therefore repent, they will live
unto God; but if they do not repent, they shall have their dwelling with
the women who wrought wickedness among them.

CHAPTER 23

“And those from the sixth mountain, which had clefts large and small, and
decayed grass in the clefts, who believed, were the following: they who
occupy the small clefts are those who bring charges against one another,
and by reason of their slanders have decayed in the faith. Many of them,
however, repented; and the rest also will repent when they hear my
commandments, for their slanders are small, and they will quickly repent.
But they who occupy the large clefts are persistent in their slanders, and
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vindictive in their anger against each other. These, therefore, were thrown
away from the tower, and rejected from having a part in its building. Such
persons, accordingly, shall have difficulty in living. If our God and Lord,
who rules over all things, and has power over all His creation, does not
remember evil against those who confess their sins, but is merciful, does
man, who is corruptible and full of sins, remember evil against a fellow-
man, as if he were able to destroy or to save him? I, the angel of
repentance, say unto you, As many of you as are of this way of thinking,
lay it aside, and repent, and the Lord will heal your former sins, if you
purify yourselves from this demon; but if not, you will be delivered over
to him for death.

CHAPTER 24

“And those who believed from the seventh mountain, on which the grass
was green and flourishing, and the whole of the mountain fertile, and every
kind of cattle and the fowls of heaven were feeding on the grass on this
mountain, and the grass on which they pastured became more abundant,
were the following: they were always simple, and harmless, and blessed,
bringing no charges against one another, but always rejoicing greatly
because of the servants of God, and being clothed with the Holy Spirit of
these virgins, and always having pity on every man, and giving aid from
their own labor to every man, without reproach and without hesitation.
The Lord, therefore, seeing their simplicity and all their meekness,
multiplied them amid the labors of their hands, and gave them grace in all
their doings. And I, the angel of repentance, say to you who are such,
Continue to be such as these, and your seed will never be blotted out; for
the Lord has made trial of you, and inscribed you in the number of us, and
the whole of your seed will dwell with the Son of God; for ye have
received of His Spirit.

CHAPTER 25

“And they who believed from the eighth mountain, where were the many
fountains, and where all the creatures of God drank of the fountains, were
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the following: apostles, and teachers, who preached to the whole world,
and who taught solemnly and purely the word of the Lord, and did not at
all fall into evil desires, but walked always in righteousness and truth,
according as they had received the Holy Spirit. Such persons, therefore,
shall enter in with the angels.

CHAPTER 26

“And they who believed from the ninth mountain, which was deserted,
and had in it creeping things and wild beasts which destroy men, were the
following: they who had the stains as servants, who discharged their duty
ill, and who plundered widows and orphans of their livelihood, and gained
possessions for themselves from the ministry, which they had received. If,
therefore, they remain under the dominion of the same desire, they are
dead, and there is no hope of life for them; but if they repent, and finish
their ministry in a holy manner, they shall be able to live. And they who
were covered with scabs are those who have denied their Lord, and have
not returned to Him again; but becoming withered and desert-like, and not
cleaving to the servants of God, but living in solitude, they destroy their
own souls. For as a vine, when left within an enclosure, and meeting with
neglect, is destroyed, and is made desolate by the weeds, and in time
grows wild, and is no longer of any use to its master, so also are such men
as have given themselves up, and become useless to their Lord, from
having contracted savage habits. These men, therefore, have repentance in
their power, unless they are found to have denied from the heart; but if
any one is found to have denied from the heart, I do not know if he may
live. And I say this not for these present days, in order that any one who
has denied may obtain repentance, for It is impossible for him to be saved
who now intends to deny his Lord; but to those who denied Him long ago,
repentance seems to be possible. If, therefore, any one intends to repent,
let him do so quickly, before the tower is completed; for if not, he will be
utterly destroyed by the women. And the chipped stones are the deceitful
and the slanderers; and the wild beasts. which you saw on the ninth
mountain, are the same. For as wild beasts destroy and kill a man by their
poison, so also do the words of such men destroy and ruin a man. These,
accordingly, are mutilated in their faith, on account of the deeds which
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they have done in themselves; yet some repented, and were saved. And
the rest, who are of such a character, can be saved if they repent; but if
they do not repent, they will perish with those women, whose strength
they have assumed.

CHAPTER 27

“And from the tenth mountain, where were trees which overshadowed
certain sheep, they who believed were the following: bishops given to
hospitality, who always gladly received into their houses the servants of
God, without dissimulation. And the bishops never failed to protect, by
their service, the widows, and those who were in want, and always
maintained a holy conversation. All these, accordingly, shall be protected
by the Lord for ever. They who do these things are honorable before God,
and their place is already with the angels, if they remain to the end serving
God.

CHAPTER 28

“And from the eleventh mountain, where were trees full of fruits, adorned
with fruits of various kinds, they who believed were the following: they
who suffered for the name of the Son of God, and who also suffered
cheerfully with their whole heart, and laid down their lives.” “Why, then,
sir,” I said, “do all these trees bear fruit, and some of them fairer than the
rest?” “Listen,” he said: “all who once suffered for the name of the Lord
are honorable before God; and of all these the sins were remitted, because
they suffered for the name of the Son of God. And why their fruits are of
various kinds, and some of them superior, listen. All,” he continued, “who
were brought before the authorities and were examined, and did not deny,
but suffered cheerfully — these are held in greater honor with God, and of
these the fruit is superior; but all who were cowards, and in doubt, and
who reasoned in their hearts whether they would deny or confess, and yet
suffered, of these the fruit is less, because that suggestion came into their
hearts; for that suggestion — that a servant should deny his Lord — is
evil. Have a care, therefore, ye who are planning such things, lest that
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suggestion remain in your hearts, and ye perish unto God. And ye who
suffer for His name ought to glorify God, because He deemed you worthy
to bear His name, that all your sins might be healed. [Therefore, rather
deem yourselves happy], and think that ye have done a great thing, if any
of you suffer on account of God. The Lord bestows upon you life, and ye
do not understand, for your sins were heavy; but if you had not suffered
for the name of the Lord, ye would have died to God on account of your
sins. These things I say to you who are hesitating about denying or
confessing: acknowledge that ye have the Lord, lest, denying Him, ye be
delivered up to prison. If the heathen chastise their slaves, when one of
them denies his master, what, think ye, will your Lord do, who has
authority over all men? Put away these counsels out of your hearts, that
you may live continually unto God.

CHAPTER 29

“And they who believed from the twelfth mountain, which was white, are
the following: they are as infant children, in whose hearts no evil
originates; nor did they know what wickedness is, but always remained as
children. Such accordingly, without doubt, dwell in the kingdom of God,
because they defiled in nothing the commandments of God; but they
remained like children all the days of their life in the same mind. All of
you, then, who shall remain steadfast, and be as children, without doing
evil, will be more honored than all who have been previously mentioned;
for all infants are honorable before God, and are the first persons with
Him. Blessed, then, are ye who put away wickedness from yourselves,
and put on innocence. As the first of all will you live unto God.”
After he had finished the Similitudes of the mountains, I said to him, “Sir,
explain to me now about the stones that were taken out of the plain, and
put into the building instead of the stones that were taken out of the
tower; and about the round stones that were put into the building; and
those that still remain round.”
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CHAPTER 30

“Hear,” he answered, “about all these also. The stones taken out of the
plain and put into the building of the tower instead of those that were
rejected, are the roots of this white mountain. When, therefore, they who
believed from the white mountain were all found guileless, the Lord of the
tower commanded those from the roots of this mountain to be cast into
the building of the tower; for he knew that if these stones were to go to the
building of the tower, they would remain bright, and not one of them
become black. But if he had so resolved with respect to the other
mountains, it would have been necessary for him to visit that tower again,
and to cleanse it. Now all these persons were found white who believed,
and who will yet believe, for they are of the same race. This is a happy
race, because it is innocent. Hear now, further, about these round and
shining stones. All these also are from the white mountain. Hear,
moreover, why they were found round: because their riches had obscured
and darkened them a little from the truth, although they never departed
from God; nor did any evil word proceed out of their mouth, but all
justice, virtue, and truth. When the Lord, therefore, saw the mind of these
persons, that they were born good, and could be good, He ordered their
riches to be cut down, not to be taken away for ever, that they might be
able to do some good with what was left them; and they will live unto
God, because they are of a good race. Therefore were they rounded a little
by the chisel, and put in the building of the tower.

CHAPTER 31

“But the other round stones, which had not yet been adapted to the
building of the tower, and had not yet received the seal, were for this
reason put back into their place, because they are exceedingly round. Now
this age must be cut down in these things, and in the vanities of their
riches, and then they will meet in the kingdom of God; for they must of
necessity enter into the kingdom of God, because the Lord has blessed this
innocent race. Of this race therefore, no one will perish; for although any
of them be tempted by the most wicked devil, and commit sin, he will
quickly return to his Lord. I deem you happy, I, who am the messenger of
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repentance, whoever of you are innocent as children, because your part is
good, and honorable before God. Moreover, I say to you all, who have
received the seal of the Son of God, be clothed with simplicity, and be not
mindful of offenses, nor remain in wickedness. Lay aside, therefore, the
recollection of your offenses and bitternesses, and you will be formed in
one spirit. And heal and take away from you those wicked schisms, that if
the Lord of the flocks come, He may rejoice concerning you. And He will
rejoice, if He find all things sound, and none of you shall perish. But if He
find any one of these sheep strayed, woe to the shepherds! And if the
shepherds themselves have strayed, what answer will they give Him for
their flocks? Will they perchance say that they were harassed by their
flocks? They will not be believed, for the thing is incredible that a
shepherd could suffer from his flock; rather will he be punished on account
of his falsehood. And I myself am a shepherd, and I am under a most
stringent necessity of rendering an account of you.

CHAPTER 32

“Heal yourselves, therefore, while the tower is still building. The Lord
dwells in men that love peace, because He loved peace; but from the
contentious and the utterly wicked He is far distant. Restore to Him,
therefore, a spirit sound as ye received it. For when you have given to a
fuller a new garment, and desire to receive it back entire at the end, if, then,
the fuller return you a torn garment, will you take it from him, and not
rather be angry, and abuse him, saying, ‘I gave you a garment that was
entire: why have you rent it, and made it useless, so that it can be of no
use on account of the rent which you have made in it?’ Would you not say
all this to the fuller about the rent which you found in your garment? If,
therefore, you grieve about your garment, and complain because you have
not received it entire, what do you think the Lord will do to you, who gave
you a sound spirit, which you have rendered altogether useless, so that it
can be of no service to its possessor? for its use began to be unprofitable,
seeing it was corrupted by you. Will not the Lord, therefore, because of
this conduct of yours regarding His Spirit, act in the same way, and deliver
you over to death? Assuredly, I say, he will do the same to all those
whom He shall find retaining a recollection of offenses. Do not trample
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His mercy under foot, He says, but rather honor Him, because He is so
patient with your sins, and is not as ye are. Repent, for it is useful to you.

CHAPTER 33

“All these things which are written above, I, the Shepherd, the messenger
of repentance, have showed and spoken to the servants of God. If
therefore ye believe, and listen to my words, and walk in them, and amend
your ways, you shall have it in your power to live: but if you remain in
wickedness, and in the recollection of offenses, no sinner of that class will
live unto God. All these words which I had to say have been spoken unto
you.”
The Shepherd said to me,” Have you asked me everything?” And I replied,
“Yes, sir.” “Why did you not ask me about the shape of the stones that
were put into the building, that I might explain to you why we filled up
the shapes?” And I said, “I forgot, sir.” “Hear now, then,” he said, “about
this also. These are they who have now heard my commandments, and
repented with their whole hearts. And when the Lord saw that their
repentance was good and pure, and that they were able to remain in it, He
ordered their former sins to be blotted out. For these shapes were their
sins, and they were leveled down, that they might not appear.”

SIMILITUDE TENTH

CONCERNING REPENTANCE AND ALMS-GIVING

CHAPTER 1

After I had fully written down this book, that messenger who had
delivered me to the Shepherd came into the house in which I was, and sat
down upon a couch, and the Shepherd stood on his right hand. He then
called me, and spoke to me as follows: “I have delivered you and your
house to the Shepherd, that you may be protected by him.” “Yes, sir,” I
said. “If you wish, therefore, to be protected,” he said, “from all
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annoyance, and from all harsh treatment, and to have success in every
good work and word, and to possess all the virtues of righteousness, walk
in these commandments which he has given you, and you will be able to
subdue all wickedness. For if you keep those commandments, every desire
and pleasure of the world will be subject to you, and success will attend
you in every good work. Take unto yourself his experience and
moderation, and say to all that he is in great honor and dignity with God,
and that he is a president with great power, and mighty in his office. To
him alone throughout the whole world is the power of repentance
assigned. Does he seem to you to be powerful? But you despise his
experience, and the moderation which he exercises towards you.”

CHAPTER 2

I said to him, “Ask himself, sir, whether from the time that he has entered
my house I have done anything improper, or have offended him in any
respect.” He answered, “I also know that you neither have done nor will
do anything improper, and therefore I speak these words to you, that you
may persevere. For he had a good report of you to me, and you will say
these words to others, that they also who have either repented or will still
repent may entertain the same feelings with you, and he may report well
of these to me, and I to the Lord.” And I said, “Sir, I make known to every
man the great works of God: and I hope that all those who love them, and
have sinned before, on hearing these words, may repent, and receive life
again.” “Continue, therefore, in this ministry, and finish it. And all who
follow out his commands shall have life, and great honor with the Lord.
But those who do not keep his commandments, flee from his life, and
despise him. But he has his own honor with the Lord. All, therefore, who
shall despise him, and not follow his commands, deliver themselves to
death, and every one of them will be guilty of his own blood. But I enjoin
you, that you obey his commands, and you will have a cure for your
former sins.
105

CHAPTER 3

“Moreover, I sent you these virgins, that they may dwell with you. For I
saw that they were courteous to you. You will therefore have them as
assistants, that you may be the better able to keep his commands: for it is
impossible that these commandments can be observed without these
virgins. I see, moreover, that they abide with you willingly; but I will also
instruct them not to depart at all from your house: do you only keep your
house pure, as they will delight to dwell in a pure abode. For they are
pure, and chaste, and industrious, and have all influence with the Lord.
Therefore, if they find your house to be pure, they will remain with you;
but if any defilement, even a little, befall it, they will immediately
withdraw from your house. For these virgins do not at all like any
defilement.” I said to him, “I hope, sir, that I will please them, so that they
may always be willing to inhabit my house. And as he to whom you
entrusted me has no complaint against me, so neither will they have.” He
said to the Shepherd, “I see that the servant of God wishes to live, and to
keep these commandments, and will place these virgins in a pure
habitation.” When he had spoken these words he again delivered me to the
Shepherd, and called those virgins, and said to them, “Since I see that you
are willing to dwell in his house, I commend him and his house to you,
asking that you withdraw not at all from it.” And the virgins heard these
words with pleasure.

CHAPTER 4

The angel then said to me, “Conduct yourself manfully in this service, and
make known to every one the great things of God, and you will have favor
in this ministry. Whoever, therefore, shall walk in these commandments,
shall have life, and will be happy in his life; but whosoever shall neglect
them shall not have life, and will be unhappy in this life. Enjoin all, who
are able to act rightly, not to cease well-doing; for, to practice good works
is useful to them. And I say that every man ought to be saved from
inconveniences. For both he who is in want, and he who suffers
inconveniences in his daily life, is in great torture and necessity. Whoever,
therefore, rescues a soul of this kind from necessity, will gain for himself
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great joy. For he who is harassed by inconveniences of this kind, suffers
equal torture with him who is in chains. Moreover many, on account of
calamities of this sort, when they could not endure them, hasten their own
deaths. Whoever, then, knows a calamity of this kind afflicting a man, and
does not save him, commits a great sin, and becomes guilty of his blood.
Do good works, therefore, ye who have received good from the Lord; lest,
while ye delay to do them, the building of the tower be finished, and you
be rejected from the edifice: there is now no other tower a-building. For on
your account was the work of building suspended. Unless, then, you make
haste to do rightly, the tower will be completed, and you will be
excluded.”
After he had spoken with me he rose up from the couch, and taking the
Shepherd and the virgins, he departed. But he said to me that he would
send back the Shepherd and the virgins to my dwelling. Amen.
107

ELUCIDATIONS
1

T HE reader has now had an opportunity of judging for himself whether the
internal evidence favors any other view of the authorship of The Shepherd,
than that which I have adopted. Its apparent design is to meet the rising
pestilence of Montanism, and the perils of a secondary stage of
Christianity. This it attempts to do by an imaginary voice from the first
period. Avoiding controversy, Hermas presents, in the name of his earlier
synonyme, a portraiture of the morals and practical godliness which were
recognized as “the way of holiness” in the apostolic days. In so doing, he
falls into anachronisms, of course, as poets and romancers must. These are
sufficiently numerous to reveal the nature of his production, and to prove
that the author was not the Hermas of the story.
The authorship was a puzzle and a problem during the earlier discussions
of the learned. An anonymous poem (falsely ascribed to Tertullian, but
very ancient) did, indeed, give a clue to the solution: —
“ — deinde Pius, Hermas cui germine frater,
Angelicus Pastor, quia tradita verba locutus.”

To say that there was no evidence to sustain this, is to grant that it
doubles the evidence when sufficient support for it is discovered. This
was supplied by the fragment found in Milan, by the erudite and
indefatigable Muratori, about a hundred and fifty years ago. Its history,
with very valuable notes on the fragment itself, which is given entire, may
be found in Routh’s Reliquiae. Or the English reader may consult
Westcott’s very luminous statement of the case. I am sorry that Dr.
Donaldson doubts and objects; but he would not deny that experts, at
least his equals, accept the Muratorian Canon, which carries with it the
historic testimony needed in the case of Hermas. All difficulties disappear
in the light of this evidence. Hermas was brother of Plus, ninth Bishop of
Rome (after Hyginus, circ. A.D. 157), and wrote his prose idyll under the
fiction of his Pauline predecessor’s name and age. This accounts for the
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existence of the work, for its form of allegory and prophesying, for its
anachronisms, for its great currency, and for its circulation among the
Easterns, which was greater than it enjoyed in the West; and also for their
innocent mistake in ascribing it to the elder Hermas.
1. The Phrygian enthusiasm, like the convulsionism of Paris in the last
century, was a phenomenon not to be trifled with; especially when it
began to threaten the West. This work was produced to meet so great an
emergency.
2. “Fire fights fire,” and prophesyings are best met by prophesyings.
These were rare among the Orthodox, but Hermas undertook to restore
those of the apostolic age; and I think this is what is meant by the tradita
verba of the old poem, i.e., words “transmitted or bequeathed
traditionally” from the times of Clement. Irenaeus, the contemporary of
this Hermas, had received the traditions of the same age from Polycarp:
hence the greater probability of my conjecture that the brother of Pius
compiled many traditional prophesyings of the first age.
3. Supposing the work to be in fact what it is represented to be in fiction,
we have seen that it abounds with anachronisms. As now explained, we
can account for them: the second Hermas forgets himself, like other poets,
and mixes up his own period with that which he endeavors to portray.
4 and 5. Written in Greek, its circulation in the West was necessarily
limited; but, as the plague of Montanism was raging in the East, its Greek
was a godsend, and enabled the Easterns to introduce it everywhere as a
useful book. Origen values it as such; and, taking it without thought to be
the work of the Pauline Hermas, attributes to it, as a fancy of his own,
that kind of inspiration which pertained to early “prophesyings.” This
conjecture once started, “it satisfied curiosity,” says Westcott, “and
supplied the place of more certain information; but, though it found
acceptance, it acquired no new strength.”
6. Eusebius and Jerome merely repeat the report as an on dit, and on this
slender authority it traveled down. The Pauline Hermas was credited with
it; and the critics, in their researches, find multiplied traces of the one
mistake, as did the traveler whose circuits became a beaten road under the
hoofs of his own horse.
109
If the reader will now turn back to the Introductory Note of the Edinburgh
editors, he will find that the three views of which they take any serious
notice are harmonized by that we have reached. The work is
unquestionably, on its face, the work of the Pauline Hermas. But this is
attributable to the fact that it is a fiction, or prose poem. And hence it
must be credited to the later Hermas, whose name and authorship are alone
supported by external testimony, as well as internal evidence.

2

(SIMILITUDE NINTH, CH. 11)
Westcott is undoubtedly correct in connecting this strange passage with
one of the least defensible experiments of early Christian living. Gibbon
finds in this experiment nothing but an opportunity for his scurrility. A
true philosopher will regard it very differently; and here, once and for all,
we may speak of it somewhat at length. The young believer, a member,
perhaps, of a heathen family, daily mixed up with abominable manners,
forced to meet everywhere, by day, the lascivious hetaerae of the Greeks
or those who are painted by Martial among the Latins, had no refuge but
in flying to the desert, or practicing the most heroic self-restraint if he
remained with the relations and companions of his youth. If he went to the
bath, it was to see naked women wallowing with vile men: if he slept upon
the housetop, it was to throw down his mat or rug in a promiscuous stye
of men and women. This alike with rich and poor; but the latter were those
among whom the Gospel found its more numerous recruits, and it was just
these who were least able to protect themselves from pollutions. Their
only resource was in that self-mastery, out of which sprung the Encraty of
Tatian and the Montanism of Tertullian. Angelic purity was supposed to
be attainable in this life; and the experiment was doubtless attended with
some success, among the more resolute in fastings and prayer. Inevitably,
however, what was “begun in the spirit,” ended “in the flesh,” in many
instances. To live as brothers and sisters in the family of Christ, was a
daring experiment; especially in such a social atmosphere, and amid the
domestic habits of the heathen. Scandals ensued. Canonical censures were
made stringent by the Church; and, while the vices of men and the peril of
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persecution multiplied the anchorites of the desert, this mischief was
crushed out, and made impossible for Christians. “The sun-clad power of
chastity,” which Hermas means to depict, was no doubt gloriously
exemplified among holy men and women, in those heroic ages. The power
of the Holy Ghost demonstrated, in many instances, how true it is, that,
“to the pure, all things are pure.” But the Gospel proscribes everything
like presumption and leading into temptation.” The Church, in dealing
with social evils, often encouraged a recourse to monasticism, in its pure
form; but this also tended to corruption. To charge Christianity, however,
with rash experiments of living which it never tolerated, is neither just nor
philosophical. We have in it an example of the struggles of individuals out
of heathenism, — by no means an institution of Christianity itself. It was
a struggle, which, in its spirit, demands sympathy and respect. The
Gospel has taught us to nauseate what even a regenerated heathen
conceived to be praiseworthy, until the Christian family had become a
developed product of the Church.
The Gospel arms its enemies against itself, by elevating them infinitely
above what they would have been without its influences. Refined by its
social atmosphere, but refusing its sanctifying power, they gloat over the
failures and falls of those with whom their own emancipation was begun.
Let us rather admire those whom she lifted out of an abyss of moral
degradation, but whose struggles to reach the high levels of her precepts
were not always successful. Yet these very struggles were heroic; for all
their original habits, and all their surroundings, were of the sort “which
hardens all within, and petrifies the feeling.”
The American editor has devoted more than his usual amount of
annotation to Hermas, and he affectionately asks the student not to
overlook the notes, in which he has condensed rather than amplified
exposition. It has been a labor of love to contribute something to a just
conception of The Shepherd, because the Primitive Age has often been
reproached with its good repute in the early churches. So little does one
generation comprehend another! When Christians conscientiously rejected
the books of the heathen, and had as yet none of their own, save the
Sacred Scriptures, or such scanty portions of the New Testament as were
the treasures of the churches, is it wonderful that the first effort at
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Christian allegory was welcomed, especially in a time of need and perilous
temptation?
112

TATIAN’S ADDRESS
TO THE GREEKS

[TRANSLATED BY J. E. RYLAND]

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

TO TATIAN THE ASSYRIAN
[TRANSLATED BY J. E. RYLAND]
[A.D. 110-172] It was my first intention to make this author a mere
appendix to his master, Justin Martyr; for he stands in an equivocal
position, as half Father and half heretic. His good seems to have been
largely due to Justin’s teaching and influence. One may trust that his
falling away, in the decline of life, is attributable to infirmity of mind and
body; his severe asceticism countenancing this charitable thought. Many
instances of human frailty, which the experience of ages has taught
Christians to view with compassion rather than censure, are doubtless to
be ascribed to mental aberration and decay. Early Christians had not yet
been taught this lesson; for, socially, neither Judaism nor Paganism had
wholly surrendered their unloving influences upon their minds. Moreover,
their high valuation of discipline, as an essential condition of self-
preservation amid the fires of surrounding scorn and hatred, led them to
practice, perhaps too sternly, upon offenders, what they often heroically
performed upon themselves, — the amputation of the scandalous hand, or
the plucking out of the evil eye.
In Tatian, another Assyrian follows the Star of Bethlehem, from
Euphrates and the Tigris. The scanty facts of his personal history are
sufficiently detailed by the translator, in his Introductory Note. We owe
to himself the pleasing story of his conversion from heathenism. But I
think it important to qualify the impressions the translation may
113
otherwise leave upon the student’s mind, by a little more sympathy with
the better side of his character, and a more just statement of his great
services to the infant Church.
His works, which were very numerous, have perished, in consequence of
his lapse from orthodoxy. Give him due credit for his Diatessaron, of
which the very name is a valuable testimony to the Four Gospels as
recognized by the primitive churches. It is lost, with the “infinite number”
of other books which St. Jerome attributes to him. All honor to this
earliest harmonist for such a work; and let us believe, with Mill and other
learned authorities, that, if Eusebius had seen the work he censures, he
might have expressed himself more charitably concerning it.
We know something of Tatian, already, from the melancholy pages of
Irenaeus. Theodoret finds no other fault with his Diatessaron than its
omission of the genealogies, which he, probably, could not harmonize on
any theory of his own. The errors into which he fell in his old age were so
absurd, and so contrary to the Church’s doctrine and discipline, that he
could not be tolerated as one of the faithful, without giving to the heathen
new grounds for the malignant slanders with which they were ever
assailing the Christians. At the same time, let us reflect, that his fall is to
be attributed to extravagant ideas of that encraty which is a precept of the
Gospel, and which a pure abhorrence of pagan abominations led many of
the orthodox to practice with extreme rigidity. And this is the place to say,
once for all, that the figures of Elijah upon Mt. Carmel and of John Baptist
in the wilderness, approved by our Lord’s teachings, but moderated, as a
lesson to others, by his own holy but less austere example, justify the
early Church in making room for the two classes of Christians which must
always be found in earnest religion, and which seem to have their warrant
in the fundamental constitution of human nature. There must be men like
St. Paul, living in the world, though not of it; and there must be men like
the Baptist, of whom the world will say, “he hath a devil.” Marvelously
the early Catholics were piloted between the rocks and the whirlpools, in
the narrow drift of the Gospel; and always the Holy Spirit of counsel and
might was their guardian, amid their terrible trials and temptations. This
must suggest, to every reflecting mind, a gratitude the most profound. To
preserve evangelical encraty, and to restrain fanatical asceticism, was the
spirit of early Christianity, as one sees in the ethics of Hermas. But the
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awful malaria of Montanism was even now rising like a fog of the marshes,
and was destined to leave its lasting impress upon Western Christianity;
“forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats.” Our
author, alas, laid the egg which Tertullian hatched, and invented terms
which that great author raised to their highest power; for he was rather the
disciple of Tatian than of the Phrygians, though they kindled his strange
fire. After Tertullian, the whole subject of marriage became entangled with
sophistries, which have ever since adhered to the Latin churches, and
introduced the most corrosive results into the vitals of individuals and of
nations. Southey suggests, that, in the Roman Communion, John Wesley
would have been accommodated with full scope for his genius, and
canonized as a saint, while his Anglican mother had no place for him. But,
on the other hand, let us reflect that while Rome had no place for Wiclif
and Hus, or Jerome of Prague, she has used and glorified and canonized
many fanatics whose errors were far more disgraceful than those of Tatian
and Tertullian. In fact, she would have utilized and beatified these very
enthusiasts, had they risen in the Middle Ages, to combine their follies
with equal extravagance in persecuting the Albigenses, while aggrandizing
the papal ascendency.
I have enlarged upon the equivocal character of Tatian with melancholy
interest, because I shall make sparing use of notes, in editing his sole
surviving work, pronounced by Eusebius his masterpiece. I read it with
sympathy, admiration, and instruction. I enjoy his biting satire of
heathenism, his Pauline contempt for all philosophy save that of the
Gospel, his touching reference to his own experiences, and his brilliant
delineation of Christian innocence and of his own emancipation from the
seductions of a deceitful and transient world. In short, I feel that Tatian
deserves critical editing, in the original, at the hand and heart of some
expert who can thoroughly appreciate his merits, and his relations to
primitive Christianity.
The following is the original INTRODUCTORY NOTICE : —
WE learn from several sources that Tatian was an Assyrian, but know
nothing very definite either as to the time or place of his birth. Epiphanius
(Haer, 46.) declares that he was a native of Mesopotamia; and we infer
from other ascertained facts regarding him, that he flourished about the
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middle of the second century. He was at first an eager student of heathen
literature, and seems to have been especially devoted to researches in
philosophy. But he found no satisfaction in the bewildering mazes of
Greek speculation, while he became utterly disgusted with what
heathenism presented to him under the name of religion. In these
circumstances, he happily met with the sacred books of the Christians,
and was powerfully attracted by the purity of morals which these
inculcated, and by the means of deliverance from the bondage of sin which
they revealed. He seems to have embraced Christianity at Rome, where he
became acquainted with Justin Martyr, and enjoyed the instructions of
that eminent teacher of the Gospel. After the death of Justin, Tatian
unfortunately fell under the influence of the Gnostic heresy, and founded
an ascetic sect, which, from the rigid principles it professed, was called
that of the Encratites, that is, “The self-controlled,” or, “The masters of
themselves.” Tatian latterly established himself at Antioch, and acquired a
considerable number of disciples, who continued after his death to be
distinguished by the practice of those austerities which he had enjoined.
The sect of the Encratites is supposed to have been established about
A.D. 166, and Tatian appears to have died some few years afterwards.
The only extant work of Tatian is his “Address to the Greeks.” It is a
most unsparing and direct exposure of the enormities of heathenism.
Several other works are said to have been composed by Tatian; and of
these, a Diatessaron, or Harmony of the Four Gospels, is specially
mentioned. His Gnostic views led him to exclude from the continuous
narrative of our Lord’s life, given in this work, all those passages which
bear upon the incarnation and true humanity of Christ. Not withstanding
this defect, we cannot but regret the loss of this earliest Gospel harmony;
but the very title it bore is important, as showing that the Four Gospels,
and these only, were deemed authoritative about the middle of the second
century.
116

ADDRESS OF TATIAN
TO THE GREEKS
CHAPTER 1

THE GREEKS CLAIM, WITHOUT REASON,
THE INVENTION OF THE ARTS
BE not, O Greeks, so very hostilely disposed towards the Barbarians, nor
look with ill will on their opinions. For which of your institutions has not
been derived from the Barbarians? The most eminent of the Telmessians
invented the art of divining by dreams; the Carians, that of prognosticating
by the stars; the Phrygians and the most ancient Isaurians, augury by the
flight of birds; the Cyprians, the art of inspecting victims. To the
Babylonians you owe astronomy; to the Persians, magic; to the Egyptians,
geometry; to the Phoenicians, instruction by alphabetic writing. Cease,
then, to miscall these imitations inventions of your own. Orpheus, again,
taught you poetry and song; from him, too, you learned the mysteries.
The Tuscans taught you the plastic art; from the annals of the Egyptians
you learned to write history; you acquired the art of playing the flute from
Marsyas and Olympus, — these two rustic Phrygians constructed the
harmony of the shepherd’s pipe. The Tyrrhenians invented the trumpet;
the Cyclopes, the smith’s art; and a woman who was formerly a queen of
the Persians, as Hellanicus tells us, the method of joining together
epistolary tablets: her name was Atossa. Wherefore lay aside this conceit,
and be not ever boasting of your elegance of diction; for, while you
applaud yourselves, your own people will of course side with you. But it
becomes a man of sense to wait for the testimony of others, and it
becomes men to be of one accord also in the pronunciation of their
language. But, as matters stand, to you alone it has happened not to speak
alike even in common intercourse; for the way of speaking among the
Dorians is not the same as that of the inhabitants of Attica, nor do the
Aeolians speak like the Ionians. And, since such a discrepancy exists
where it ought not to be, I am at a loss whom to call a Greek. And, what is
117
strangest of all, you hold in honor expressions not of native growth, and
by the intermixture of barbaric words have made your language a medley.
On this account we have renounced your wisdom, though I was once a
great proficient in it; for, as the comic poet says, —
These are gleaners’ grapes and small talk, —
Twittering places of swallows, corrupters of art.

Yet those who eagerly pursue it shout lustily, and croak like so many
ravens. You have, too, contrived the art of rhetoric to serve injustice and
slander, selling the free power of your speech for hire, and often
representing the same thing at one time as right, at another time as not
good. The poetic art, again, you employ to describe battles, and the
amours of the gods, and the corruption of the soul.

CHAPTER 2

THE VICES AND ERRORS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS
What noble thing have you produced by your pursuit of philosophy?
Who of your most eminent men has been free from vain boasting?
Diogenes, who made such a parade of his independence with his tub, was
seized with a bowel complaint through eating a raw polypus, and so lost
his life by gluttony. Aristippus, walking about in a purple robe, led a
profligate life, in accordance with his professed opinions. Plato, a
philosopher, was sold by Dionysius for his gormandizing propensities.
And Aristotle, who absurdly placed a limit to Providence and made
happiness to consist in the things which give pleasure, quite contrary to
his duty as a preceptor flattered Alexander, forgetful that he was but a
youth; and he, showing how well he had learned the lessons of his master,
because his friend would not worship him shut him up and carried him
about like a bear or a leopard. He in fact obeyed strictly the precepts of
his teacher in displaying manliness and courage by feasting, and transfixing
with his spear his intimate and most beloved friend, and then, under a
semblance of grief, weeping and starving himself, that he might not incur
the hatred of his friends. I could laugh at those also who in the present day
adhere to his tenets, — people who say that sublunary things are not
under the care of Providence; and so, being nearer the earth than the moon,
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and below its orbit, they themselves look after what is thus left uncared
for; and as for those who have neither beauty, nor wealth, nor bodily
strength, nor high birth, they have no happiness, according to Aristotle.
Let such men philosophize, for me!

CHAPTER 3

RIDICULE OF THE PHILOSOPHERS
I cannot approve of Heraclitus, who, being self-taught and arrogant, said,
“I have explored myself.” Nor can I praise him for hiding his poem in the
temple of Artemis, in order that it might be published afterwards as a
mystery; and those who take an interest in such things say that Euripides
the tragic poet came there and read it, and, gradually learning it by heart,
carefully handed down to posterity this darkness of Heraclitus. Death,
however, demonstrated the stupidity of this man; for, being attacked by
dropsy, as he had studied the art of medicine as well as philosophy, he
plastered himself with cow-dung, which, as it hardened, contracted the
flesh of his whole body, so that he was pulled in pieces, and thus died.
Then, one cannot listen to Zeno, who declares that at the conflagration the
same man will rise again to perform the same actions as before; for
instance, Anytus and Miletus to accuse, Busiris to murder his guests, and
Hercules to repeat his labors; and in this doctrine of the conflagration he
introduces more wicked than just persons — one Socrates and a Hercules,
and a few more of the same class, but not many, for the bad will be found
far more numerous than the good. And according to him the Deity will
manifestly be the author of evil, dwelling in sewers and worms, and in the
perpetrators of impiety. The eruptions of fire in Sicily, moreover, confute
the empty boasting of Empedocles, in that, though he was no God, he
falsely almost gave himself out for one. I laugh, too, at the old wife’s talk
of Pherecydes, and the doctrine inherited from him by Pythagoras, and
that of Plato, an imitation of his, though some think otherwise. And who
would give his approval to the cynogamy of Crates, and not rather,
repudiating the wild and tumid speech of those who resemble him, turn to
the investigation of what truly deserves attention? Wherefore be not led
away by the solemn assemblies of philosophers who are no philosophers,
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who dogmatize one against the other, though each one vents but the crude
fancies of the moment. They have, moreover, many collisions among
themselves; each one hates the other; they indulge in conflicting opinions,
and their arrogance makes them eager for the highest places. It would
better become them, moreover, not to pay court to kings unbidden, nor to
flatter men at the head of affairs, but to wait till the great ones come to
them.

CHAPTER 4

THE CHRISTIANS WORSHIP GOD ALONE
For what reason, men of Greece, do you wish to bring the civil powers, as
in a pugilistic encounter, into collision with us? And, if I am not disposed
to comply with the usages of some of them, why am I to be abhorred as a
vile miscreant? Does the sovereign order the payment of tribute, I am
ready to render it. Does my master command me to act as a bondsman and
to serve, I acknowledge the serfdom. Man is to be honored as a fellow-
man; God alone is to be feared, — He who is not visible to human eyes,
nor comes within the compass of human art. Only when I am commanded
to deny Him, will I not obey, but will rather die than show myself false
and ungrateful. Our God did not begin to be in time: He alone is without
beginning, and He Himself is the beginning of all things. God is a Spirit,
not pervading matter, but the Maker of material spirits, and of the forms
that are in matter; He is invisible, impalpable, being Himself the Father of
both sensible and invisible things. Him we know from His creation, and
apprehend His invisible power by His works. I refuse to adore that
workmanship which He has made for our sakes. The sun and moon were
made for us: how, then, can I adore my own servants? How can I speak of
stocks and stones as gods? For the Spirit that pervades matter is inferior
to the more divine spirit; and this, even when assimilated to the soul, is
not to be honored equally with the perfect God. Nor even ought the
ineffable God to be presented with gifts; for He who is in want of nothing
is not to be misrepresented by us as though He were indigent. But I will
set forth our views more distinctly.
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CHAPTER 5

THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHRISTIANS AS TO
THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
God was in the beginning; but the beginning, we have been taught, is the
power of the Logos. For the Lord of the universe, who is Himself the
necessary ground (uJpo>stasiv) of all being, inasmuch as no creature was
yet in existence, was alone; but inasmuch as He was all power, Himself the
necessary ground of things visible and invisible, with Him were all things;
with Him, by Logos-power (dia< logikh~v duna>mewv), the Logos Himself
also, who was in Him, subsists. And by His simple will the Logos springs
forth; and the Logos, not coming forth in vain, becomes the first-begotten
work of the Father. Him (the Logos) we know to be the beginning of the
world. But He came into being by participation, not by abscission; for
what is cut off is separated from the original substance, but that which
comes by participation, making its choice of function, does not render him
deficient from whom it is taken. For just as from one torch many fires are
lighted, but the light of the first torch is not lessened by the kindling of
many torches, so the Logos, coming forth from the Logos-power of the
Father, has not divested of the Logos-power Him who begat Him. I
myself, for instance, talk, and you hear; yet, certainly, I who converse do
not become destitute of speech (lo>gov) by the transmission of speech, but
by the utterance of my voice I endeavor to reduce to order the unarranged
matter in your minds. And as the Logos begotten in the beginning, begat in
turn our world, having first created for Himself the necessary matter, so
also I, in imitation of the Logos, being begotten again, and having become
possessed of the truth, am trying to reduce to order the confused matter
which is kindred with myself. For matter is not, like God, without
beginning, nor, as having no beginning, is of equal power with God; it is
begotten, and not produced by any other being, but brought into existence
by the Framer of all things alone.
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CHAPTER 6

CHRISTIANS’ BELIEF IN THE RESURRECTION
And on this account we believe that there will be a resurrection of bodies
after the consummation of all things; not, as the Stoics affirm, according to
the return of certain cycles, the same things being produced and destroyed
for no useful purpose, but a resurrection once for all, when our periods of
existence are completed, and in consequence solely of the constitution of
things under which men alone live, for the purpose of passing judgment
upon them. Nor is sentence upon us passed by Minos or Rhadamanthus,
before whose decease not a single soul, according to the mythic tales, was
judged; but the Creator, God Himself, becomes the arbiter. And, although
you regard us as mere triflers and babblers, it troubles us not, since we
have faith in this doctrine. For just as, not existing before I was born, I
knew not who I was, and only existed in the potentiality (uJpo>stasiv) of
fleshly matter, but being born, after a former state of nothingness, I have
obtained through my birth a certainty of my existence; in the same way,
having been born, and through death existing no longer, and seen no longer,
I shall exist again, just as before I was not, but was afterwards born. Even
though fire destroy all traces of my flesh, the world receives the vaporized
matter; and though dispersed through rivers and seas, or torn in pieces by
wild beasts, I am laid up in the storehouses of a wealthy Lord. And,
although the poor and the godless know not what is stored up, yet God
the Sovereign, when He pleases, will restore the substance that is visible to
Him alone to its pristine condition.

CHAPTER 7

CONCERNING THE FALL OF MAN
For the heavenly Logos, a spirit emanating from the Father and a Logos
from the Logos-power, in imitation of the Father who begat Him made
man an image of immortality, so that, as incorruption is with God, in like
manner, man, sharing in a part of God, might have the immortal principle
also. The Logos, too, before the creation of men, was the Framer of angels.
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And each of these two orders of creatures was made free to act as it
pleased, not having the nature of good, which again is with God alone, but
is brought to perfection in men through their freedom of choice, in order
that the bad man may be justly punished, having become depraved through
his own fault, but the just man be deservedly praised for his virtuous
deeds, since in the exercise of his free choice he refrained from
transgressing the will of God. Such is the constitution of things in
reference to angels and men. And the power of the Logos, having in itself a
faculty to foresee future events, not as fated, but as taking place by the
choice of free agents, foretold from time to time the issues of things to
come; it also became a forbidder of wickedness by means of prohibitions,
and the encomiast of those who remained good. And, when men attached
themselves to one who was more subtle than the rest, having regard to his
being the first-born, and declared him to be God, though he was resisting
the law of God, then the power of the Logos excluded the beginner of the
folly and his adherents from all fellowship with Himself. And so he who
was made in the likeness of God, since the more powerful spirit is
separated from him, becomes mortal; but that first-begotten one through
his transgression and ignorance becomes a demon; and they who imitated
him, that is his illusions, are become a host of demons, and through their
freedom of choice have been given up to their own infatuation.

CHAPTER 8

THE DEMONS SIN AMONG MANKIND
But men form the material (uJpo>qesiv) of their apostasy. For, having
shown them a plan of the position of the stars, like dice-players, they
introduced Fate, a flagrant injustice. For the judge and the judged are made
so by Fate; the murderers and the murdered, the wealthy and the needy,
are the offspring of the same Fate; and every nativity is regarded as a
theatrical entertainment by those beings of whom Homer says, —
“Among the gods
Rose laughter irrepressible.”

But must not those who are spectators of single combats and are partisans
on one side or the other, and he who marries and is a pederast and an
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adulterer, who laughs and is angry, who flees and is wounded, be regarded
as mortals? For, by whatever actions they manifest to men their
characters, by these they prompt their hearers to copy their example. And
are not the demons themselves, with Zeus at their head, subjected to Fate,
being overpowered by the same passions as men? And, besides, how are
those beings to be worshipped among whom there exists such a great
contrariety of opinions? For Rhea, whom the inhabitants of the Phrygian
mountains call Cybele, enacted emasculation on account of Attis, of whom
she was enamored; but Aphrodite is delighted with conjugal embraces.
Artemis is a poisoner; Apollo heals diseases. And after the decapitation of
the Gorgon, the beloved of Poseidon, whence sprang the horse Pegasus
and Chrysaor, Athene and Asclepios divided between them the drops of
blood; and, while he saved men’s lives by means of them, she, by the same
blood, became a homicide and the instigator of wars. From regard to her
reputation, as it appears to me, the Athenians attributed to the earth the
son born of her connection with Hephaestos, that Athene might not be
thought to be deprived of her virility by Hephaestos, as Atalanta by
Meleager. This limping manufacturer of buckles and earrings, as is likely,
deceived the motherless child and orphan with these girlish ornaments.
Poseidon frequents the seas; Ares delights in wars; Apollo is a player on
the cithara; Dionysus is absolute sovereign of the Thebans; Kronos is a
tyrannicide; Zeus has intercourse with his own daughter, who becomes
pregnant by him. I may instance, too, Eleusis, and the mystic Dragon, and
Orpheus, who says, —
“Close the gates against the profane!”

Aidoneus carries off Kore, and his deeds have been made into mysteries;
Demeter bewails her daughter, and some persons are deceived by the
Athenians. In the precincts of the temple of the son of Leto is a spot
called Omphalos; but Omphalos is the burial-place of Dionysus. You now
I laud, O Daphne! — by conquering the incontinence of Apollo, you
disproved his power of vaticination; for, not foreseeing what would occur
to you, he derived no advantage from his art. Let the far-shooting god tell
me how Zephyrus slew Hyacinthus. Zephyrus conquered him; and in
accordance with the saying of the tragic poet, —
“A breeze is the most honorable chariot of the gods,”
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conquered by a slight breeze, Apollo lost his beloved.

CHAPTER 9

THEY GIVE RISE TO SUPERSTITIONS
Such are the demons; these are they who laid down the doctrine of Fate.
Their fundamental principle was the placing of animals in the heavens. For
the creeping things on the earth, and those that swim in the waters, and the
quadrupeds on the mountains, with which they lived when expelled from
heaven, — these they dignified with celestial honor, in order that they
might themselves be thought to remain in heaven, and, by placing the
constellations there, might make to appear rational the irrational course of
life on earth. Thus the high-spirited and he who is crushed with toil, the
temperate and the intemperate, the indigent and the wealthy, are what
they are simply from the controllers of their nativity. For the delineation
of the zodiacal circle is the work of gods. And, when the light of one of
them predominates, as they express it, it deprives all the rest of their
honor; and he who now is conquered, at another time gains the
predominance. And the seven planets are well pleased with them, as if
they were amusing themselves with dice. But we are superior to Fate, and
instead of wandering (planhtw~n) demons, we have learned to know one
Lord who wanders not; and, as we do not follow the guidance of Fate, we
reject its lawgivers. Tell me, I adjure you, did Triptolemus sow wheat and
prove a benefactor to the Athenians after their sorrow? And why was not
Demeter, before she lost her daughter, a benefactress to men? The Dog of
Erigone is shown in the heavens, and the Scorpion the helper of Artemis,
and Chiron the Centaur, and the divided Argo, and the Bear of Callisto.
Yet how, before these performed the aforesaid deeds, were the heavens
unadorned? And to whom will it not appear ridiculous that the Deltotum
should be placed among the stars, according to some, on account of Sicily,
or, as others say, on account of the first letter in the name of Zeus (Dio>v)?
For why are not Sardinia and Cyprus honored in heaven? And why have
not the letters of the names of the brothers of Zeus, who shared the
kingdom with him, been fixed there too? And how is it that Kronos, who
was put in chains and ejected from his kingdom, is constituted a manager
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of Fate? How, too, can he give kingdoms who no longer reigns himself?
Reject, then, these absurdities, and do not become transgressors by hating
us unjustly.

CHAPTER 10

RIDICULE OF THE HEATHEN DIVINITIES
There are legends of the metamorphosis of men: with you the gods also are
metamorphosed. Rhea becomes a tree; Zeus a dragon, on account of
Persephone; the sisters of Phaethon are changed into poplars, and Leto
into a bird of little value, on whose account what is now Delos was called
Ortygia. A god, forsooth, becomes a swan, or takes the form of an eagle,
and, making Ganymede his cupbearer, glories in a vile affection. How can I
reverence gods who are eager for presents, and angry if they do not receive
them? Let them have their Fate! I am not willing to adore wandering stars.
What is that hair of Berenice? Where were her stars before her death? And
how was the dead Antinous fixed as a beautiful youth in the moon? Who
carried him thither: unless perchance, as men, perjuring themselves for
hire, are credited when they say in ridicule of the gods that kings have
ascended into heaven, so some one, in like manner, has put this man also
among the gods, and been recompensed with honor and reward? Why have
you robbed God? Why do you dishonor His workmanship? You sacrifice
a sheep, and you adore the same animal. The Bull is in the heavens, and
you slaughter its image. The Kneeler crushes a noxious animal; and the
eagle that devours the man-maker Prometheus is honored. The swan is
noble, forsooth, because it was an adulterer; and the Dioscuri, living on
alternate days, the ravishers of the daughters of Leucippus, are also noble!
Better still is Helen, who forsook the flaxen-haired Menelaus, and
followed the turbaned and gold-adorned Paris. A just man also is Sophron,
who transported this adulteress to the Elysian fields! But even the
daughter of Tyndarus is not gifted with immortality, and Euripides has
wisely represented this woman as put to death by Orestes.
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CHAPTER 11

THE SIN OF MEN DUE NOT TO FATE, BUT TO FREE-WILL
How, then, shall I admit this nativity according to Fate, when I see such
managers of Fate? I do not wish to be a king; I am not anxious to be rich; I
decline military command; I detest fornication; I am not impelled by an
insatiable love of gain to go to sea; I do not contend for chaplets; I am free
from a mad thirst for fame; I despise death; I am superior to every kind of
disease; grief does not consume my soul. Am I a slave, I endure servitude.
Am I free, I do not make a vaunt of my good birth. I see that the same sun
is for all, and one death for all, whether they live in pleasure or destitution.
The rich man sows, and the poor man partakes of the same sowing. The
wealthiest die, and beggars have the same limits to their life. The rich lack
many things, and are glorious only through the estimation they are held in;
but the poor man and he who has very moderate desires, seeking as he
does only the things suited to his lot, more easily obtains his purpose.
How is it that you are fated to be sleepless through avarice? Why are you
fated to grasp at things often, and often to die? Die to the world,
repudiating the madness that is in it. Live to God, and by apprehending
Him lay aside your old nature. We were not created to die, but we die by
our own fault. Our free-will has destroyed us; we who were free have
become slaves; we have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been
created by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness; but we, who
have manifested it, are able again to reject it.

CHAPTER 12

THE TWO KINDS OF SPIRITS
We recognize two varieties of spirit, one of which is called the soul
(yuch>), but the other is greater than the soul, an image and likeness of
God: both existed in the first men, that in one sense they might be material
(uJlikoi> ), and in another superior to matter. The case stands thus: we can
see that the whole structure of the world, and the whole creation, has been
produced from matter, and the matter itself brought into existence by God;
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so that on the one hand it may be regarded as rude and unformed before it
was separated into parts, and on the other as arranged in beauty and order
after the separation was made. Therefore in that separation the heavens
were made of matter, and the stars that are in them; and the earth and all
that is upon it has a similar constitution: so that there is a common origin
of all things. But, while such is the case, there yet are certain differences in
the things made of matter, so that one is more beautiful, and another is
beautiful but surpassed by something better. For as the constitution of the
body is under one management, and is engaged in doing that which is the
cause of its having been made, yet though this is the case, there are certain
differences of dignity in it, and the eye is one thing, and another the ear,
and another the arrangement of the hair and the distribution of the
intestines, and the compacting together of the marrow and the bones and
the tendons; and though one part differs from another, there is yet all the
harmony of a concert of music in their arrangement; — in like manner the
world, according to the power of its Maker containing some things of
superior splendor, but some unlike these, received by the will of the
Creator a material spirit. And these things severally it is possible for him
to perceive who does not conceitedly reject those most divine explanations
which in the course of time have been consigned to writing, and make
those who study them great lovers of God. Therefore the demons, as you
call them, having received their structure from matter and obtained the
spirit which inheres in it, became intemperate and greedy; some few,
indeed, turning to what was purer, but others choosing what was inferior
in matter, and conforming their manner of life to it. These beings, produced
from matter, but very remote from right conduct, you, O Greeks, worship.
For, being turned by their own folly to vaingloriousness, and shaking off
the reins [of authority], they have been forward to become robbers of
Deity; and the Lord of all has suffered them to besport themselves, till the
world, coming to an end, be dissolved, and the Judge appear, and all those
men who, while assailed by the demons, strive after the knowledge of the
perfect God obtain as the result of their conflicts a more perfect testimony
in the day of judgment. There is, then, a spirit in the stars, a spirit in
angels, a spirit in plants and the waters, a spirit in men, a spirit in animals;
but, though one and the same, it has differences in itself. And while we say
these things not from mere hearsay, nor from probable conjectures and
sophistical reasoning, but using words of a certain diviner speech, do you
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who are willing hasten to learn. And you who do not reject with contempt
the Scythian Anacharsis, do not disdain to be taught by those who follow
a barbaric code of laws. Give at least as favorable a reception to our tenets
as you would to the prognostications of the Babylonians. Hearken to us
when we speak, if only as you would to an oracular oak. And yet the
things just referred to are the trickeries of frenzied demons, while the
doctrines we inculcate are far beyond the apprehension of the world.

CHAPTER 13

THEORY OF THE SOUL’S IMMORTALITY
The soul is not in itself immortal, O Greeks, but mortal. Yet it is possible
for it not to die. If, indeed, it knows not the truth, it dies, and is dissolved
with the body, but rises again at last at the end of the world with the
body, receiving death by punishment in immortality. But, again, if it
acquires the knowledge of God, it dies not, although for a time it be
dissolved. In itself it is darkness, and there is nothing luminous in it. And
this is the meaning of the saying, “The darkness comprehendeth not the
light.” For the soul does not preserve the spirit, but is preserved by it, and
the light comprehends the darkness. The Logos, in truth, is the light of
God, but the ignorant soul is darkness. On this account, if it continues
solitary, it tends downward towards matter, and dies with the flesh; but, if
it enters into union with the Divine Spirit, it is no longer helpless, but
ascends to the regions whither the Spirit guides it: for the dwelling-place of
the spirit is above, but the origin of the soul is from beneath. Now, in the
beginning the spirit was a constant companion of the soul, but the spirit
forsook it because it was not willing to follow. Yet, retaining as it were a
spark of its power, though unable by reason of the separation to discern
the perfect, while seeking for God it fashioned to itself in its wandering
many gods, following the sophistries of the demons. But the Spirit of God
is not with all, but, taking up its abode with those who live justly, and
intimately combining with the soul, by prophecies it announced hidden
things to other souls. And the souls that are obedient to wisdom have
attracted to themselves the cognate spirit; but the disobedient, rejecting the
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minister of the suffering God, have shown themselves to be fighters
against God, rather than His worshippers.

CHAPTER 14

THE DEMONS SHALL BE PUNISHED
MORE SEVERELY THAN MEN
And such are you also, O Greeks, — profuse in words, but with minds
strangely warped; and you acknowledge the dominion of many rather than
the rule of one, accustoming yourselves to follow demons as if they were
mighty. For, as the inhuman robber is wont to overpower those like
himself by daring; so the demons, going to great lengths in wickedness,
have utterly deceived the souls among you which are left to themselves by
ignorance and false appearances. These beings do not indeed die easily, for
they do not partake of flesh; but while living they practice the ways of
death, and die themselves as often as they teach their followers to sin.
Therefore, what is now their chief distinction, that they do not die like
men, they will retain when about to suffer punishment: they will not
partake of everlasting life, so as to receive this instead of death in a blessed
immortality. And as we, to whom it now easily happens to die, afterwards
receive the immortal with enjoyment, or the painful with immortality, so
the demons, who abuse the present life to purposes of wrong-doing, dying
continually even while they live, will have hereafter the same immortality,
like that which they had during the time they lived, but in its nature like
that of men, who voluntarily performed what the demons prescribed to
them during their lifetime. And do not fewer kinds of sin break out among
men owing to the brevity of their lives, while on the part of these demons
transgression is more abundant owing to their boundless existence?

CHAPTER 15

NECESSITY OF A UNION WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
But further, it becomes us now to seek for what we once had, but have
lost, to unite the soul with the Holy Spirit, and to strive after union with
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God. The human soul consists of many parts, and is not simple; it is
composite, so as to manifest itself through the body; for neither could it
ever appear by itself without the body, nor does the flesh rise again
without the soul. Man is not, as the croaking philosophers say, merely a
rational animal, capable of understanding and knowledge; for, according to
them, even irrational creatures appear possessed of understanding and
knowledge. But man alone is the image and likeness of God; and I mean by
man, not one who performs actions similar to those of animals, but one
who has advanced far beyond mere humanity — to God Himself. This
question we have discussed more minutely in the treatise concerning
animals. But the principal point to be spoken of now is, what is intended
by the image and likeness of God. That which cannot be compared is no
other than abstract being; but that which is compared is no other than that
which is like. The perfect God is without flesh; but man is flesh. The bond
of the flesh is the soul; that which encloses the soul is the flesh. Such is
the nature of man’s constitution; and, if it be like a temple, God is pleased
to dwell in it by the spirit, His representative; but, if it be not such a
habitation, man excels the wild beasts in articulate language only, — in
other respects his manner of life is like theirs, as one who is not a likeness
of God. But none of the demons possess flesh; their structure is spiritual,
like that of fire or air. And only by those whom the Spirit of God dwells
in and fortifies are the bodies of the demons easily seen, not at all by
others, — I mean those who possess only soul; for the inferior has not the
ability to apprehend the superior. On this account the nature of the
demons has no place for repentance; for they are the reflection of matter
and of wickedness. But matter desired to exercise lordship over the soul;
and according to their free-will these gave laws of death to men; but men,
after the loss of immortality, have conquered death by submitting to death
in faith; and by repentance a call has been given to them, according to the
word which says, “Since they were made a little lower than the angels.”
And, for every one who has been conquered, it is possible again to
conquer, if he rejects the condition which brings death. And what that is,
may be easily seen by men who long for immortality.
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CHAPTER 16

VAIN DISPLAY OF POWER BY THE DEMONS
But the demons who rule over men are not the souls of men; for how
should these be capable of action after death? unless man, who while living
was void of understanding and power, should be believed when dead to be
endowed with more of active power. But neither could this be the case, as
we have shown elsewhere. And it is difficult to conceive that the immortal
soul, which is impeded by the members of the body, should become more
intelligent when it has migrated from it. For the demons, inspired with
frenzy against men by reason of their own wickedness, pervert their
minds, which already incline downwards, by various deceptive scenic
representations, that they may be disabled from rising to the path that
leads to heaven. But from us the things which are in the world are not
hidden, and the divine is easily apprehended by us if the power that makes
souls immortal visits us. The demons are seen also by the men possessed
of soul, when, as sometimes, they exhibit themselves to men, either that
they may be thought to be something, or as evil-disposed friends may do
harm to them as to enemies, or afford occasions of doing them honor to
those who resemble them. For, if it were possible, they would without
doubt pull down heaven itself with the rest of creation. But now this they
can by no means effect, for they have not the power; but they make war
by means of the lower matter against the matter that is like themselves.
Should any one wish to conquer them, let him repudiate matter. Being
armed with the breastplate of the celestial Spirit, he will be able to
preserve all that is encompassed by it. There are, indeed, diseases and
disturbances of the matter that is in us; but, when such things happen, the
demons ascribe the causes of them to themselves, and approach a man
whenever disease lays hold of him. Sometimes they themselves disturb the
habit of the body by a tempest of folly; but, being smitten by the word of
God, they depart in terror, and the sick man is healed.
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CHAPTER 17

THEY FALSELY PROMISE HEALTH TO THEIR VOTARIES
Concerning the sympathies and antipathies of Democritus what can we
say but this, that, according to the common saying, the man of Abdera is
Abderiloquent? But, as he who gave the name to the city, a friend of
Hercules as it is said, was devoured by the horses of Diomedes, so he who
boasted of the Magian Ostanes will be delivered up in the day of
consummation as fuel for the eternal fire. And you, if you do not cease
from your laughter, will gain the same punishment as the jugglers.
Wherefore, O Greeks, hearken to me, addressing you as from an eminence,
nor in mockery transfer your own want of reason to the herald of the
truth. A diseased affection (pa>qov) is not destroyed by a counter-affection
(ajntipa>qeia), nor is a maniac cured by hanging little amulets of leather
upon him. There are visitations of demons; and he who is sick, and he who
says he is in love, and he who hates, and he who wishes to be revenged,
accept them as helpers. And this is the method of their operation: just as
the forms of alphabetic letters and the lines composed of them cannot of
themselves indicate what is meant, but men have invented for themselves
signs of their thoughts, knowing by their peculiar combination what the
order of the letters was intended to express; so, in like manner, the various
kinds of roots and the mutual relation of the sinews and bones can effect
nothing of themselves, but are the elemental matter with which the
depravity of the demons works, who have determined for what purpose
each of them is available. And, when they see that men consent to be
served by means of such things, they take them and make them their
slaves. But how can it be honorable to minister to adulteries? How can it
be noble to stimulate men in hating one another? Or how is it becoming to
ascribe to matter the relief of the insane, and not to God? For by their art
they turn men aside from the pious acknowledgment of God, leading them
to place confidence in herbs and roots. But God, if He had prepared these
things to effect just what men wish, would be a Producer of evil things;
whereas He Himself produced everything which has good qualities, but the
profligacy of the demons has made use of the productions of nature for
evil purposes, and the appearance of evil which these wear is from them,
and not from the perfect God. For how comes it to pass that when alive I
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was in no wise evil, but that now I am dead and can do nothing, my
remains, which are incapable of motion or even sense, should effect
something cognizable by the senses? And how shall he who has died by
the most miserable death be able to assist in avenging any one? If this were
possible, much more might he defend himself from his own enemy; being
able to assist others, much more might he constitute himself his own
avenger.

CHAPTER 18

THEY DECEIVE, INSTEAD OF HEALING
But medicine and everything included in it is an invention of the same
kind. If any one is healed by matter, through trusting to it, much more will
he be healed by having recourse to the power of God. As noxious
preparations are material compounds, so are curatives of the same nature.
If, however, we reject the baser matter, some persons often endeavor to
heal by a union of one of these bad things with some other, and will make
use of the bad to attain the good. But, just as he who dines with a robber,
though he may not be a robber himself, partakes of the punishment on
account of his intimacy with him, so he who is not bad but associates with
the bad, having dealings with them for some supposed good, will be
punished by God the Judge for partnership in the same object. Why is he
who trusts in the system of matter not willing to trust in God? For what
reason do you not approach the more powerful Lord, but rather seek to
cure yourself, like the dog with grass, or the stag with a viper, or the hog
with river-crabs, or the lion with apes? Why do you deify the objects of
nature? And why, when you cure your neighbor, are you called a
benefactor? Yield to the power of the Logos! The demons do not cure, but
by their art make men their captives. And the most admirable Justin has
rightly denounced them as robbers. For, as it is the practice of some to
capture persons and then to restore them to their friends for a ransom, so
those who are esteemed gods, invading the bodies of certain persons, and
producing a sense of their presence by dreams, command them to come
forth into public, and in the sight of all, when they have taken their fill of
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the things of this world, fly away from the sick, and, destroying the
disease which they had produced, restore men to their former state

CHAPTER 19

DEPRAVITY LIES AT THE BOTTOM OF DEMON-WORSHIP
But do you, who have not the perception of these things, be instructed by
us who know them: though you do profess to despise death, and to be
sufficient of yourselves for everything. But this is a discipline in which
your philosophers are so greatly deficient, that some of them receive from
the king of the Romans 600 aurei yearly, for no useful service they
perform, but that they may not even wear a long beard without being paid
for it! Crescens, who made his nest in the great city, surpassed all men in
unnatural love (paiderasti>a), and was strongly addicted to the love of
money. Yet this man, who professed to despise death, was so afraid of
death, that he endeavored to inflict on Justin, and indeed on me, the
punishment of death, as being an evil, because by proclaiming the truth he
convicted the philosophers of being gluttons and cheats. But whom of the
philosophers, save you only, was he accustomed to inveigh against? If you
say, in agreement with our tenets, that death is not to be dreaded, do not
court death from an insane love of fame among men, like Anaxagoras, but
become despisers of death by reason of the knowledge of God. The
construction of the world is excellent, but the life men live in it is bad; and
we may see those greeted with applause as in a solemn assembly who
know not God. For what is divination? and why are ye deceived by it? It
is a minister to thee of worldly lusts. You wish make war, and you take
Apollo as a counselor of slaughter. You want to carry off a maiden by
force, and you select a divinity to be your accomplice. You are ill by your
own fault; and, as Agamemnon wished for ten councilors, so you wish to
have gods with you. Some woman by drinking water gets into a frenzy,
and loses her senses by the fumes of frankincense, and you say that she
has the gift of prophecy. Apollo was a prognosticator and a teacher of
soothsayers: in the matter of Daphne he deceived himself. An oak,
forsooth, is oracular, and birds utter presages! And so you are inferior to
animals and plants! It would surely be a fine thing for you to become a
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divining rod, or to assume the wings of a bird! He who makes you fond of
money also foretells your getting rich; he who excites to seditions and
wars also predicts victory in war. If you are superior to the passions, you
will despise all worldly things. Do not abhor us who have made this
attainment, but, repudiating the demons, follow the one God. “All things
were made by Him, and without Him not one thing was made.” If there is
poison in natural productions, this has supervened through our sinfulness.
I am able to show the perfect truth of these things; only do you hearken,
and he who believes will understand.

CHAPTER 20

THANKS ARE EVER DUE TO GOD
Even if you be healed by drugs (I grant you that point by courtesy), yet it
behooves you to give testimony of the cure to God. For the world still
draws us down, and through weakness I incline towards matter. For the
wings of the soul were the perfect spirit, but, having cast this off through
sin, it flutters like a nestling and falls to the ground. Having left the
heavenly companionship, it hankers after communion with inferior things.
The demons were driven forth to another abode; the first created human
beings were expelled from their place: the one, indeed, were cast down
from heaven; but the other were driven from earth, yet not out of this
earth, but from a more excellent order of things than exists here now. And
now it behooves us, yearning after that pristine state, to put aside
everything that proves a hindrance. The heavens are not infinite, O man,
but finite and bounded; and beyond them are the superior worlds which
have not a change of seasons, by which various diseases are produced, but,
partaking of every happy temperature, have perpetual day, and light
unapproachable by men below. Those who have composed elaborate
descriptions of the earth have given an account of its various regions so far
as this was possible to man; but, being unable to speak of that which is
beyond, because of the impossibility of personal observation, they have
assigned as the cause the existence of tides; and that one sea is filled with
weed, and another with mud; and that some localities are burnt up with
heat, and others cold and frozen. We, however, have learned things which
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were unknown to us, through the teaching of the prophets, who, being
fully persuaded that the heavenly spirit along with the soul will acquire a
clothing of mortality, foretold things which other minds were unacquainted
with. But it is possible for every one who is naked to obtain this apparel,
and to return to its ancient kindred.

CHAPTER 21

DOCTRINES OF THE CHRISTIANS AND GREEKS RESPECTING
GOD COMPARED
We do not act as fools, O Greeks, nor utter idle tales, when we announce
that God was born in the form of a man. I call on you who reproach us to
compare your mythical accounts with our narrations. Athene, as they say,
took the form of Deiphobus for the sake of Hector, and the unshorn
Phoebus for the sake of Admetus fed the trailing-footed oxen, and the
spouse of Zeus came as an old woman to Semele. But, while you treat
seriously such things, how can you deride us? Your Asclepios died, and he
who ravished fifty virgins in one night at Thespiae lost his life by
delivering himself to the devouring flame. Prometheus, fastened to
Caucasus, suffered punishment for his good deeds to men. According to
you, Zeus is envious, and hides the dream from men, wishing their
destruction. Wherefore, looking at your own memorials, vouchsafe us your
approval, though it were only as dealing in legends similar to your own.
We, however, do not deal in folly, but your legends are only idle tales. If
you speak of the origin of the gods, you also declare them to be mortal.
For what reason is Hera now never pregnant? Has she grown old? or is
there no one to give you information? Believe me now, O Greeks, and do
not resolve your myths and gods into allegory. If you attempt to do this,
the divine nature as held by you is overthrown by your own selves; for, if
the demons with you are such as they are said to be, they are worthless as
to character; or, if regarded as symbols of the powers of nature, they are
not what they are called. But I cannot be persuaded to pay religious
homage to the natural elements, nor can I undertake to persuade my
neighbor. And Metrodorus of Lampsacus, in his treatise concerning
Homer, has argued very foolishly, turning everything into allegory. For he
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says that neither Hera, nor Athene, nor Zeus are what those persons
suppose who consecrate to them sacred enclosures and groves, but parts
of nature and certain arrangements of the elements. Hector also, and
Achilles, and Agamemnon, and all the Greeks in general, and the
Barbarians with Helen and Paris, being of the same nature, you will of
course say are introduced merely for the sake of the machinery of the
poem, not one of these personages having really existed. But these things
we have put forth only for argument’s sake; for it is not allowable even to
compare our notion of God with those who are wallowing in matter and
mud.

CHAPTER 22

RIDICULE OF THE SOLEMNITIES OF THE GREEKS
And of what sort are your teachings? Who must not treat with contempt
your solemn festivals, which, being held in honor of wicked demons, cover
men with infamy? I have often seen a man — and have been amazed to
see, and the amazement has ended in contempt, to think how he is one
thing internally, but outwardly counterfeits what he is not — giving
himself excessive airs of daintiness and indulging in all sorts of effeminacy;
sometimes darting his eyes about; sometimes throwing his hands hither
and thither, and raving with his face smeared with mud; sometimes
personating Aphrodite, sometimes Apollo; a solitary accuser of all the
gods, an epitome of superstition, a vituperator of heroic deeds, an actor of
murders, a chronicler of adultery, a storehouse of madness, a teacher of
cynaedi, an instigator of capital sentences; — and yet such a man is
praised by all. But I have rejected all his falsehoods, his impiety, his
practices, — in short, the man altogether. But you are led captive by such
men, while you revile those who do not take a part in your pursuits. I
have no mind to stand agape at a number of singers, nor do I desire to be
affected in sympathy with a man when he is winking and gesticulating in
an unnatural manner. What wonderful or extraordinary thing is performed
among you? They utter ribaldry in affected tones, and go through indecent
movements; your daughters and your sons behold them giving lessons in
adultery on the stage. Admirable places, forsooth, are your lecture-rooms,
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where every base action perpetrated by night is proclaimed aloud, and the
hearers are regaled with the utterance of infamous discourses! Admirable,
too, are your mendacious poets, who by their fictions beguile their hearers
from the truth!

CHAPTER 23

OF THE PUGILISTS AND GLADIATORS
I have seen men weighed down by bodily exercise, and carrying about the
burden of their flesh, before whom rewards and chaplets are set, while the
adjudicators cheer them on, not to deeds of virtue, but to rivalry in
violence and discord; and he who excels in giving blows is crowned. These
are the lesser evils; as for the greater, who would not shrink from telling
them? Some, giving themselves up to idleness for the sake of profligacy,
sell themselves to be killed; and the indigent barters himself away, while
the rich man buys others to kill him. And for these the witnesses take their
seats, and the boxers meet in single combat, for no reason whatever, nor
does any one come down into the arena to succor. Do such exhibitions as
these redound to your credit? He who is chief among you collects a legion
of blood-stained murderers, engaging to maintain them; and these ruffians
are sent forth by him, and you assemble at the spectacle to be judges,
partly of the wickedness of the adjudicator, and partly of that of the men
who engage in the combat. And he who misses the murderous exhibition is
grieved, because he was not doomed to be a spectator of wicked and
impious and abominable deeds. You slaughter animals for the purpose of
eating their flesh, and you purchase men to supply a cannibal banquet for
the soul, nourishing it by the most impious bloodshedding. The robber
commits murder for the sake of plunder, but the rich man purchases
gladiators for the sake of their being killed.
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CHAPTER 24

OF THE OTHER PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS
What advantage should I gain from him who is brought on the stage by
Euripides raving mad, and acting the matricide of Alcmaeon; who does not
even retain his natural behavior, but with his mouth wide open goes about
sword in hand, and, screaming aloud, is burned to death, habited in a robe
unfit for man? Away, too, with the mythical tales of Acusilaus, and
Menander, a versifier of the same class! And why should I admire the
mythic piper? Why should I busy myself about the Theban Antigenides,
like Aristoxenus? We leave you to these worthless things; and do you
either believe our doctrines, or, like us, give up yours.

CHAPTER 25

BOASTINGS AND QUARRELS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS
What great and wonderful things have your philosophers effected? They
leave uncovered one of their shoulders; they let their hair grow long; they
cultivate their beards; their nails are like the claws of wild beasts. Though
they say that they want nothing, yet, like Proteus, they need a currier for
their wallet, and a weaver for their mantle, and a wood-cutter for their
staff, and the rich, and a cook also for their gluttony. O man competing
with the dog, you know not God, and so have turned to the imitation of an
irrational animal. You cry out in public with an assumption of authority,
and take upon you to avenge your own self; and if you receive nothing,
you indulge in abuse, and philosophy is with you the art of getting money.
You follow the doctrines of Plato, and a disciple of Epicurus lifts up his
voice to oppose you. Again, you wish to be a disciple of Aristotle, and a
follower of Democritus rails at you. Pythagoras says that he was
Euphorbus, and he is the heir of the doctrine of Pherecydes; but Aristotle
impugns the immortality of the soul. You who receive from your
predecessors doctrines which clash with one another, you the
inharmonious, are fighting against the harmonious. One of you asserts that
God is body, but I assert that He is without body; that the world is
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indestructible, but I say that it is to be destroyed; that a conflagration will
take place at various times, but I say that it will come to pass once for all;
that Minos and Rhadamanthus are judges, but I say that God Himself is
Judge; that the soul alone is endowed with immortality, but I say that the
flesh also is endowed with it. What injury do we inflict upon you, O
Greeks? Why do you hate those who follow the word of God, as if they
were the vilest of mankind? It is not we who eat human flesh — they
among you who assert such a thing have been suborned as false witnesses;
it is among you that Pelops is made a supper for the gods, although
beloved by Poseidon, and Kronos devours his children, and Zeus swallows
Metis.

CHAPTER 26

RIDICULE OF THE STUDIES OF THE GREEKS
Cease to make a parade of sayings which you have derived from others,
and to deck yourselves like the daw in borrowed plumes. If each state
were to take away its contribution to your speech, your fallacies would
lose their power. While inquiring what God is, you are ignorant of what is
in yourselves; and, while staring all agape at the sky, you stumble into
pitfalls. The reading of your books is like walking through a labyrinth, and
their readers resemble the cask of the Danaids. Why do you divide time,
saying that one part is past, and another present, and another future? For
how can the future be passing when the present exists? As those who are
sailing imagine in their ignorance, as the ship is borne along, that the hills
are in motion, so you do not know that it is you who are passing along,
but that time (oJ aijwn> ) remains present as long as the Creator wills it to
exist. Why am I called to account for uttering my opinions, and why are
you in such haste to put them all down? Were not you born in the same
manner as ourselves, and placed under the same government of the world?
Why say that wisdom is with you alone, who have not another sun, nor
other risings of the stars, nor a more distinguished origin, nor a death
preferable to that of other men? The grammarians have been the beginning
of this idle talk; and you who parcel out wisdom are cut off from the
wisdom that is according to truth, and assign the names of the several
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parts to particular men; and you know not God, but in your fierce
contentions destroy one another. And on this account you are all nothing
worth. While you arrogate to yourselves the sole right of discussion, you
discourse like the blind man with the deaf. Why do you handle the
builder’s tools without knowing how to build? Why do you busy
yourselves with words, while you keep aloof from deeds, puffed up with
praise, but cast down by misfortunes? Your modes of acting are contrary
to reason, for you make a pompons appearance in public, but hide your
teaching in corners. Finding you to be such men as these, we have
abandoned you, and no longer concern ourselves with your tenets, but
follow the word of God. Why, O man, do you set the letters of the
alphabet at war with one another? Why do you, as in a boxing match,
make their sounds clash together with your mincing Attic way of
speaking, whereas you ought to speak more according to nature? For if
you adopt the Attic dialect though not an Athenian, pray why do you not
speak like the Dorians? How is it that one appears to you more rugged,
the other more pleasant for intercourse?

CHAPTER 27

THE CHRISTIANS ARE HATED UNJUSTLY
And if you adhere to their teaching, why do you fight against me for
choosing such views of doctrine as I approve? Is it not unreasonable that,
while the robber is not to be punished for the name he bears, but only
when the truth about him has been clearly ascertained, yet we are to be
assailed with abuse on a judgment formed without examination? Diagoras
was an Athenian, but you punished him for divulging the Athenian
mysteries; yet you who read his Phrygian discourses hate us. You possess
the commentaries of Leo, and are displeased with our refutations of them;
and having in your hands the opinions of Apion concerning the Egyptian
gods, you denounce us as most impious. The tomb of Olympian Zeus is
shown among you, though some one says that the Cretans are liars. Your
assembly of many gods is nothing. Though their despiser Epicurus acts as
a torch-bearer, I do not any the more conceal from the rulers that view of
God which I hold in relation to His government of the universe. Why do
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you advise me to be false to my principles? Why do you who say that
you despise death exhort us to use art in order to escape it? I have not the
heart of a deer; but your zeal for dialectics resembles the loquacity of
Thersites. How can I believe one who tells me that the sun is a red-hot
mass and the moon an earth? Such assertions are mere logomachies, and
not a sober exposition of truth. How can it be otherwise than foolish to
credit the books of Herodotus relating to the history of Hercules, which
tell of an upper earth from which the lion came down that was killed by
Hercules? And what avails the Attic style, the sorites of philosophers, the
plausibilities of syllogisms, the measurements of the earth, the positions
of the stars, and the course of the sun? To be occupied in such inquiries is
the work of one who imposes opinions on himself as if they were laws.

CHAPTER 28

CONDEMNATION OF THE GREEK LEGISLATION
On this account I reject your legislation also; for there ought to be one
common polity for all; but now there are as many different codes as there
are states, so that things held disgraceful in some are honorable in others.
The Greeks consider intercourse with a mother as unlawful, but this
practice is esteemed most becoming by the Persian Magi; pederasty is
condemned by the Barbarians, but by the Romans, who endeavor to
collect herds of boys like grazing horses, it is honored with certain
privileges.

CHAPTER 29

ACCOUNT OF TATIAN’S CONVERSION
Wherefore, having seen these things, and moreover also having been
admitted to the mysteries, and having everywhere examined the religious
rites performed by the effeminate and the pathic, and having found among
the Romans their Latiarian Jupiter delighting in human gore and the blood
of slaughtered men, and Artemis not far from the great city sanctioning
acts of the same kind, and one demon here and another there instigating to
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the perpetration of evil, — retiring by myself, I sought how I might be
able to discover the truth. And, while I was giving my most earnest
attention to the matter, I happened to meet with certain barbaric writings,
too old to be compared with the opinions of the Greeks, and too divine to
be compared with their errors; and I was led to put faith in these by the
unpretending cast of the language, the inartificial character of the writers,
the foreknowledge displayed of future events, the excellent quality of the
precepts, and the declaration of the government of the universe as centered
in one Being. And, my soul being taught of God, I discern that the former
class of writings lead to condemnation, but that these put an end to the
slavery that is in the world, and rescue us from a multiplicity of rulers and
ten thousand tyrants, while they give us, not indeed what we had not
before received, but what we had received but were prevented by error
from retaining.

CHAPTER 30

HOW HE RESOLVED TO RESIST THE DEVIL
Therefore, being initiated and instructed in these things, I wish to put
away my former errors as the follies of childhood. For we know that the
nature of wickedness is like that of the smallest seeds; since it has waxed
strong from a small beginning, but will again be destroyed if we obey the
words of God and do not scatter ourselves. For He has become master of
all we have by means of a certain “hidden treasure,” which while we are
digging for we are indeed covered with dust, but we secure it as our fixed
possession. He who receives the whole of this treasure has obtained
command of the most precious wealth. Let these things, then, be said to
our friends. But to you Greeks what can I say, except to request you not
to rail at those who are better than yourselves, nor if they are called
Barbarians to make that an occasion of banter? For, if you are willing, you
will be able to find out the cause of men’s not being able to understand one
another’s language; for to those who wish to examine our principles I will
give a simple and copious account of them.
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CHAPTER 31

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE CHRISTIANS
MORE ANCIENT THAN THAT OF THE GREEKS
But now it seems proper for me to demonstrate that our philosophy is
older than the systems of the Greeks. Moses and Homer shall be our
limits, each of them being of great antiquity; the one being the oldest of
poets and historians, and the other the founder of all barbarian wisdom.
Let us, then, institute a comparison between them; and we shall find that
our doctrines are older, not only than those of the Greeks, but than the
invention of letters. And I will not bring forward witnesses from among
ourselves, but rather have recourse to Greeks. To do the former would be
foolish, because it would not be allowed by you; but the other will
surprise you, when, by contending against you with your own weapons, I
adduce arguments of which you had no suspicion. Now the poetry of
Homer, his parentage, and the time in which he flourished have been
investigated by the most ancient writers, — by Theagenes of Rhegium,
who lived in the time of Cambyses, Stesimbrotus of Thasos and
Antimachus of Colophon, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, and Dionysius the
Olynthian; after them, by Ephorus of Cumae, and Philochorus the
Athenian, Megaclides and Chamaeleon the Peripatetics; afterwards by the
grammarians, Zenodotus, Aristophanes, Callimachus, Crates,
Eratosthenes, Aristarchus, and Apollodorus. Of these, Crates says that he
flourished before the return of the Heraclidae, and within 80 years after the
Trojan war; Eratosthenes says that it was after the 100th year from the
taking of Ilium; Aristarchus, that it was about the time of the Ionian
migration, which was 140 years after that event; but, according to
Philochorus, after the Ionian migration, in the archonship of Archippus at
Athens, 180 years after the Trojan war; Apollodorus says it was 100
years after the Ionian migration, which would be 240 years after the
Trojan war. Some say that he lived 90 years before the Olympiads, which
would be 317 years after the taking of Troy. Others carry it down to a
later date, and say that Homer was a contemporary of Archilochus; but
Archilochus flourished about the 23d Olympiad, in the time of Gyges the
Lydian, 500 years after Troy. Thus, concerning the age of the aforesaid
poet, I mean Homer, and the discrepancies of those who have spoken of
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him, we have said enough in a summary manner for those who are able to
investigate with accuracy. For it is possible to show that the opinions held
about the facts themselves also are false. For, where the assigned dates do
not agree together, it is impossible that the history should be true. For
what is the cause of error in writing, but the narrating of things that are not
true?

CHAPTER 32

THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHRISTIANS, IS
OPPOSED TO DISSENSIONS, AND FITTED FOR ALL
But with us there is no desire of vainglory, nor do we indulge in a variety
of opinions. For having renounced the popular and earthly, and obeying
the commands of God, and following the law of the Father of immortality,
we reject everything which rests upon human opinion. Not only do the
rich among us pursue our philosophy, but the poor enjoy instruction
gratuitously; for the things which come from God surpass the requital of
worldly gifts. Thus we admit all who desire to hear, even old women and
striplings; and, in short, persons of every age are treated by us with
respect, but every kind of licentiousness is kept at a distance. And in
speaking we do not utter falsehood. It would be an excellent thing if your
continuance in unbelief should receive a check; but, however that may be,
let our cause remain confirmed by the judgment pronounced by God.
Laugh, if you please; but you will have to weep hereafter. Is it not absurd
that Nestor, who was slow at cutting his horses’ reins owing to his weak
and sluggish old age, is, according to you, to be admired for attempting to
rival the young men in fighting, while you deride those among us who
struggle against old age and occupy themselves with the things pertaining
to God? Who would not laugh when you tell us that the Amazons, and
Semiramis, and certain other warlike women existed, while you cast
reproaches on our maidens? Achilles was a youth, yet is believed to have
been very magnanimous; and Neoptolemus was younger, but strong;
Philoctetes was weak, but the divinity had need of him against Troy. What
sort of man was Thersites? yet he held a command in the army, and, if he
had not through doltishness had such an unbridled tongue, he would not
146
have been reproached for being peak-headed and bald. As for those who
wish to learn our philosophy, we do not test them by their looks, nor do
we judge of those who come to us by their outward appearance; for we
argue that there may be strength of mind in all, though they may be weak
in body. But your proceedings are full of envy and abundant stupidity.

CHAPTER 33

VINDICATION OF CHRISTIAN WOMEN
Therefore I have been desirous to prove from the things which are
esteemed honorable among you, that our institutions are marked by
sobermindedness, but that yours are in close affinity with madness. You
who say that we talk nonsense among women and boys, among maidens
and old women, and scoff at us for not being with you, hear what silliness
prevails among the Greeks. For their works of art are devoted to worthless
objects, while they are held in higher estimation by you than even your
gods; and you behave yourselves unbecomingly in what relates to woman.
For Lysippus cast a statue of Praxilla, whose poems contain nothing
useful, and Menestratus one of Learchis, and Selanion one of Sappho the
courtesan, and Naucydes one of Erinna the Lesbian, and Boiscus one of
Myrtis, and Cephisodotus one of Myro of Byzantium, and Gomphus one
of Praxigoris, and Amphistratus one of Clito. And what shall I say about
Anyta, Telesilla, and Mystis? Of the first Euthycrates and Cephisodotus
made a statue, and of the second Niceratus, and of the third Aristodotus;
Euthycrates made one of Mnesiarchis the Ephesian, Selanion one of
Corinna, and Euthycrates one of Thalarchis the Argive. My object in
referring to these women is, that you may not regard as something strange
what you find among us, and that, comparing the statues which are before
your eyes, you may not treat the women with scorn who among us pursue
philosophy. This Sappho is a lewd, love-sick female, and sings her own
wantonness; but all our women are chaste, and the maidens at their distaffs
sing of divine things more nobly than that damsel of yours. Wherefore be
ashamed, you who are professed disciples of women yet scoff at those of
the sex who hold our doctrine, as well as at the solemn assemblies they
frequent. What a noble infant did Glaucippe present to you, who brought
147
forth a prodigy, as is shown by her statue cast by Niceratus, the son of
Euctemon the Athenian! But, if Glaucippe brought forth an elephant, was
that a reason why she should enjoy public honors? Praxiteles and
Herodotus made for you Phryne the courtesan, and Euthycrates cast a
brazen statue of Panteuchis, who was pregnant by a whoremonger; and
Dinomenes, because Besantis queen of the Paeonians gave birth to a black
infant, took pains to preserve her memory by his art. I condemn
Pythagoras too, who made a figure of Europa on the bull; and you also,
who honor the accuser of Zeus on account of his artistic skill. And I
ridicule the skill of Myron, who made a heifer and upon it a Victory
because by carrying off the daughter of Agenor it had borne away the
prize for adultery and lewdness. The Olynthian Herodotus made statues
of Glycera the courtesan and Argeia the harper. Bryaxis made a statue of
Pasiphae; and, by having a memorial of her lewdness, it seems to have
been almost your desire that the women of the present time should be like
her. A certain Melanippe was a wise woman, and for that reason
Lysistratus made her statue. But, forsooth, you will not believe that
among us there are wise women!

CHAPTER 34

RIDICULE OF THE STATUES ERECTED BY THE GREEKS
Worthy of very great honor, certainly, was the tyrant Bhalaris, who
devoured sucklings, and accordingly is exhibited by the workmanship of
Polystratus the Ambraciot, even to this day, as a very wonderful man!
The Agrigentines dreaded to look on that countenance of his, because of
his cannibalism; but people of culture now make it their boast that they
behold him in his statue! Is it not shameful that fratricide is honored by
you who look on the statues of Polynices and Eteocles, and that you have
not rather buried them with their maker Pythagoras? Destroy these
memorials of iniquity! Why should I contemplate with admiration the
figure of the woman who bore thirty children, merely for the sake of the
artist Periclymenus? One ought to turn away with disgust from one who
bore off the fruits of great incontinence, and whom the Romans compared
to a sow, which also on a like account, they say, was deemed worthy of a
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mystic worship. Ares committed adultery with Aphrodite, and Andron
made an image of their offspring Harmonia. Sophron, who committed to
writing trifles and absurdities, was more celebrated for his skill in casting
metals, of which specimens exist even now. And not only have his tales
kept the fabulist Aesop in everlasting remembrance, but also the plastic art
of Aristodemus has increased his celebrity. How is it then that you, who
have so many poetesses whose productions are mere trash, and
innumerable courtesans, and worthless men, are not ashamed to slander the
reputation of our women? What care I to know that Euanthe gave birth to
an infant in the Peripatus, or to gape with wonder at the art of Callistratus,
or to fix my gaze on the Neaera of Calliades? For she was a courtesan. Lais
was a prostitute, and Turnus made her a monument of prostitution. Why
are you not ashamed of the fornication of Hephaestion, even though Philo
has represented him very artistically? And for what reason do you honor
the hermaphrodite Ganymede by Leochares, as if you possessed
something admirable? Praxiteles even made a statue of a woman with the
stain of impurity upon it. It behooved you, repudiating everything of this
kind, to seek what is truly worthy of attention, and not to turn with
disgust from our mode of life while receiving with approval the shameful
productions of Philaenis and Elephantis.

CHAPTER 35

TATIAN SPEAKS AS AN EYE-WITNESS
The things which I have thus set before you I have not learned at second
hand. I have visited many lands; I have followed rhetoric, like yourselves; I
have fallen in with many arts and inventions; and finally, when sojourning
in the city of the Romans, I inspected the multiplicity of statues brought
thither by you: for I do not attempt, as is the custom with many, to
strengthen my own views by the opinions of others, but I wish to give
you a distinct account of what I myself have seen and felt. So, bidding
farewell to the arrogance of Romans and the idle talk of Athenians, and all
their ill-connected opinions, I embraced our barbaric philosophy. I began
to show how this was more ancient than your institutions, but left my
task unfinished, in order to discuss a matter which demanded more
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immediate attention; but now it is time I should attempt to speak
concerning its doctrines. Be not offended with our teaching, nor undertake
an elaborate reply filled with trifling and ribaldry, saying, “Tatian, aspiring
to be above the Greeks, above the infinite number of philosophic inquirers,
has struck out a new path, and embraced the doctrines of Barbarians.” For
what grievance is it, that men manifestly ignorant should be reasoned with
by a man of like nature with themselves? Or how can it be irrational,
according to your own sophist, to grow old always learning something?

CHAPTER 36

TESTIMONY OF THE CHALDEANS
TO THE ANTIQUITY OF MOSES
But let Homer be not later than the Trojan war; let it be granted that he
was contemporary with it, or even that he was in the army of
Agamemnon, and, if any so please, that he lived before the invention of
letters. The Moses before mentioned will be shown to have been many
years older than the taking of Troy, and far more ancient than the building
of Troy, or than Tros and Dardanus. To demonstrate this I will call in as
witnesses the Chaldeans, the Phoenicians and the Egyptians. And what
more need I say? For it behooves one who professes to persuade his
hearers to make his narrative of events very concise. Berosus, a
Babylonian, a priest of their god Belus, born in the time of Alexander,
composed for Antiochus, the third after him, the history of the Chaldeans
in three books; and, narrating the acts of the kings, he mentions one of
them, Nabuchodonosor by name, who made war against the Phoenicians
and the Jews, events which we know were announced by our prophets,
and which happened much later than the age of Moses, seventy years
before the Persian empire. But Berosus is a very trustworthy man, and of
this Juba is a witness, who, writing concerning the Assyrians, says that he
learned the history from Berosus: there are two books of his concerning
the Assyrians.
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CHAPTER 37

TESTIMONY OF THE PHOENICIANS
After the Chaldeans, the testimony of the Phoenicians is as follows. There
were among them three men, Theodotus, Hypsicrates, and Mochus;
Chaitus translated their books into Greek, and also composed with
exactness the lives of the philosophers. Now, in the histories of the
aforesaid writers it is shown that the abduction of Europa happened under
one of the kings, and an account is given of the coming of Menelaus into
Phoenicia, and of the matters relating to Chiramus, who gave his daughter
in marriage to Solomon the king of the Jews, and supplied wood of all kind
of trees for the building of the temple. Menander of Pergamus composed a
history concerning the same things. But the age of Chiramus is somewhere
about the Trojan war; but Solomon, the contemporary of Chiramus, lived
much later than the age of Moses.

CHAPTER 38

THE EGYPTIANS PLACE MOSES IN THE REIGN OF INACHUS
Of the Egyptians also there are accurate chronicles. Ptolemy, not the king,
but a priest of Mendes, is the interpreter of their affairs. This writer,
narrating the acts of the kings, says that the departure of the Jews from
Egypt to the places whither they went occurred in the time of king
Amosis, under the leadership of Moses. He thus speaks: “Amosis lived in
the time of king Inachus.” After him, Apion the grammarian, a man most
highly esteemed, in the fourth book of his Aegyptiaca (there are five books
of his), besides many other things, says that Amosis destroyed Avaris in
the time of the Argive Inachus, as the Mendesian Ptolemy wrote in his
annals. But the time from Inachus to the taking of Troy occupies twenty
generations. The steps of the demonstration are the following: —
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CHAPTER 39

CATALOGUE OF THE ARGIVE KINGS
The kings of the Argives were these: Inachus, Phoroneus, Apis, Criasis,
Triopas, Argeius, Phorbas, Crotopas, Sthenelaus, Danaus, Lynceus,
Proetus, Abas, Acrisius, Perseus, Sthenelaus, Eurystheus, Atreus,
Thyestes, and Agamemnon, in the eighteenth year of whose reign Troy
was taken. And every intelligent person will most carefully observe that,
according to the tradition of the Greeks, they possessed no historical
composition; for Cadmus, who taught them letters, came into Boeotia
many generations later. But after Inachus, under Phoroneus, a check was
with difficulty given to their savage and nomadic life, and they entered
upon a new order of things. Wherefore, if Moses is shown to be
contemporary with Inachus, he is four hundred years older than the Trojan
war. But this is demonstrated from the succession of the Attic, [and of the
Macedonian, the Ptolemaic, and the Antiochian] kings. Hence, if the most
illustrious deeds among the Greeks were recorded and made known after
Inachus, it is manifest that this must have been after Moses. In the time of
Phoroneus, who was after Inachus, Ogygus is mentioned among the
Athenians, in whose time was the first deluge; and in the time of Phorbas
was Actaeus, from whom Attica was called Actaea; and in the time of
Triopas were Prometheus, and Epimetheus, and Arias, and Cecrops of
double nature, and Io; in the time of Crotopas was the burning of Phaethon
and the flood of Deucalion; in the time of Sthenelus was the reign of
Amphictyon and the coming of Danaus into Peloponnesus, and the
founding of Dardania by Dardanus, and the return of Europa from
Phoenicia to Crete; in the time of Lynceus was the abduction of Kore, and
the founding of the temple in Eleusis, and the husbandry of Triptolemus,
and the coming of Cadmus to Thebes, and the reign of Minos; in the time
of Proetus was the war of Eumolpus against the Athenians; in the time of
Acrisius was the coming over of Pelops from Phrygia, and the coming of
Ion to Athens, and the second Cecrops, and the deeds of Perseus and
Dionysus, and Musaeus, the disciple of Orpheus; and in the reign of
Agamemnon Troy was taken.
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CHAPTER 40

MOSES MORE ANCIENT AND CREDIBLE
THAN THE HEATHEN HEROES
Therefore, from what has been said it is evident that Moses was older than
the ancient heroes, wars, and demons. And we ought rather to believe him,
who stands before them in point of age, than the Greeks, who, without
being aware of it, drew his doctrines [as] from a fountain. For many of the
sophists among them, stimulated by curiosity, endeavored to adulterate
whatever they learned from Moses, and from those who have
philosophized like him, first that they might be considered as having
something of their own, and secondly, that covering up by a certain
rhetorical artifice whatever things they did not understand, they might
misrepresent the truth as if it were a fable. But what the learned among the
Greeks have said concerning our polity and the history of our laws, and
how many and what kind of men have written of these things, will be
shown in the treatise against those who have discoursed of divine things.

CHAPTER 41

But the matter of principal importance is to endeavor with all accuracy to
make it clear that Moses is not only older than Homer, but than all the
writers that were before him — older than Linus, Philammon, Thamyris,
Amphion, Musaeus, Orpheus, Demodocus, Phemius, Sibylla, Epimenides
of Crete, who came to Sparta, Aristaeus of Proconnesus, who wrote the
Arimaspia, Asbolus the Centaur, Isatis, Drymon, Euclus the Cyprian,
Horus the Samian, and Pronapis the Athenian. Now, Linus was the teacher
of Hercules, but Hercules preceded the Trojan war by one generation; and
this is manifest from his son Tlepolemus, who served in the army against
Troy. And Orpheus lived at the same time as Hercules; moreover, it is said
that all the works attributed to him were composed by Onomacritus the
Athenian, who lived during the reign of the Pisistratids, about the fiftieth
Olympiad. Musaeus was a disciple of Orpheus. Amphion, since he
preceded the siege of Troy by two generations, forbids our collecting
further particulars about him for those who are desirous of information.
153
Demodocus and Phemius lived at the very time of the Trojan war; for the
one resided with the suitors, and the other with the Phaeacians. Thamyris
and Philammon were not much earlier than these. Thus, concerning their
several performances in each kind, and their times and the record of them,
we have written very fully, and, as I think, with all exactness. But, that we
may complete. what is still wanting, I will give my explanation respecting
the men who are esteemed wise. Minos, who has been thought to excel in
every kind of wisdom, and mental acuteness, and legislative capacity, lived
in the time of Lynceus, who reigned after Danaus in the eleventh
generation after Inachus. Lycurgus, who was born long after the taking of
Troy, gave laws to the Lacedemonians. Draco is found to have lived about
the thirty-ninth Olympiad, Solon about the forty-sixth, and Pythagoras
about the sixty-second. We have shown that the Olympiads commenced
407 years after the taking of Troy. These facts being demonstrated, we
shall briefly remark concerning the age of the seven wise men. The oldest
of these, Thales, lived about the fiftieth Olympiad; and I have already
spoken briefly of those who came after him.

CHAPTER 42

CONCLUDING STATEMENT AS TO THE AUTHOR
These things, O Greeks, I Tatian, a disciple of the barbarian philosophy,
have composed for you. I was born in the land of the Assyrians, having
been first instructed in your doctrines, and afterwards in those which I
now undertake to proclaim. Henceforward, knowing who God is and what
is His work, I present myself to you prepared for an examination
concerning my doctrines, while I adhere immovably to that mode of life
which is according to God.
154

FRAGMENTS
1

IN his treatise, Concerning Perfection according to the Savior, he writes,
“Consent indeed fits for prayer, but fellowship in corruption weakens
supplication. At any rate, by the permission he certainly, though
delicately, forbids; for while he permits them to return to the same on
account of Satan and incontinence, he exhibits a man who will attempt to
serve two masters — God by the ‘consent’ (1 Corinthians 7:5), but by
want of consent, incontinence, fornication, and the devil.” — CLEM. ALEX :
Strom., 3. 100. 12.

2

A certain person inveighs against generation, calling it corruptible and
destructive; and some one does violence [to Scripture], applying to pro-
creation the Savior’s words, “Lay not up treasure on earth, where moth
and rust corrupt;” and he is not ashamed to add to these the words of the
prophet: “You all shall grow old as a garment, and the moth shall devour
you.”
And, in like manner, they adduce the saying concerning the resurrection of
the dead, “The sons of that world neither marry nor are given in marriage.”
— CLEM. ALEX .: 3. 100. 12, 86.

3

Tatian, who maintaining the imaginary flesh of Christ, pronounces all
sexual connection impure, who was also the very violent heresiarch of the
Encratites, employs an argument of this sort: “If any one sows to the
flesh, of the flesh he shall reap corruption;” but he sows to the flesh who
is joined to a woman; therefore he who takes a wife and sows in the flesh,
of the flesh he shall reap corruption. — H IERON.: Com. in Ep. ad Gal.
155

4

Seceding from the Church, and being elated and puffed up by a conceit of
his teacher, as if he were superior to the rest, he formed his own peculiar
type of doctrine. Imagining certain invisible Aeons like those of
Valentinus, and denouncing marriage as defilement and fornication in the
same way as Marcion and Saturninus, and denying the salvation of Adam
as an opinion of his own. — IRENAEUS: Adv. Haer., 1. 28.

5

Tatian attempting from time to time to make use of Paul’s language, that in
Adam all die, but ignoring that “where sin, abounded, grace has much more
abounded.” — IRENAEUS: Adv. Haer., 3. 37.

6

Against Tatian, who says that the words, “Let there be light,” are to be
taken as a prayer. If He who uttered it knew a superior God, how is it that
He says, “I am God, and there is none beside me”?
He said that there are punishments for blasphemies, foolish talking, and
licentious words, which are punished and chastised by the Logos. And he
said that women were punished on account of their hair and ornaments by
a power placed over those things, which also gave strength to Samson by
his hair, and punishes those who by the ornament of their hair are urged on
to fornication. — CLEM. ALEX .: Frag.

7

But Tatian, not understanding that the expression “Let there be” is not
always precative but sometimes imperative, most impiously imagined
concerning God, who said “Let there be light,” that He prayed rather than
commanded light to be, as if, as he impiously thought, God was in
darkness. — ORIGEN: De Orat.
156

8

Tatian separates the old man and the new, but not, as we say,
understanding the old man to be the law, and the new man to be the
Gospel. We agree with him in saying the same thing, but not in the sense
he wishes, abrogating the law as if it belonged to another God. — CLEM.
ALEX .: Strom.,3. 12.

11

Tatian condemns and rejects not only marriage, but also meats which God
has created for use. — HIERON.: Adv. Jovin., 1. 3.

10

“But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink, and commanded the prophets,
saying, Prophesy not.” On this, perhaps, Tatian the chief of the Encratites
endeavors to build his heresy, asserting that wine is not to be drunk, since
it was commanded in the law that the Nazarites were not to drink wine,
and now those who give the Nazarites wine are accused by the prophet.
— HIERON.: Com. in Amos.

11

Tatian, the patriarch of the Encratites, who himself rejected some of Paul’s
Epistles, believed this especially, that is [addressed] to Titus, ought to be
declared to be the apostle’s, thinking little of the assertion of Marcion and
others, who agree with him on this point. — HIERON.: Praef. in Com. ad
Tit.

12

[Archelaus (A.D. 280), Bishop of Carrha in Mesopotamia, classes his
countryman Tatian with “Marcion, Sabellius, and others who have made
157
up for themselves a peculiar science,” i.e., a theology of their own. —
ROUTH: Reliquiae, vol. 5. p. 137. But see Edinburgh Series of this work,
vol. 20. p. 267.]
158

THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH
INTRODUCTORY NOTE

TO

THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH.

[TRANSLATED BY THE REV. MARCUS DODS, A.M.]
[A.D. 115-168-181] Eusebius praises the pastoral fidelity of the primitive
pastors, in their unwearied labors to protect their flocks from the heresies
with which Satan contrived to endanger the souls of believers. By
exhortations and admonitions, and then again by oral discussions and
refutations, contending with the heretics themselves, they were prompt to
ward off the devouring beasts from the fold of Christ. Such is the praise
due to Theophilus, in his opinion; and he cites especially his lost work
against Marcion as “of no mean character.” He was one of the earliest
commentators upon the Gospels, if not the first; and he seems to have
been the earliest Christian historian of the Church of the Old Testament.
His only remaining work, here presented, seems to have originated in an
“oral discussion,” such as Eusebius instances. But nobody seems to accord
him due praise as the founder of the science of Biblical Chronology among
Christians, save that his great successor in modern times, Abp. Usher, has
not forgotten to pay him this tribute in the Prolegomena of his Annals.
(Ed. Paris, 1673.)
Theophilus occupies an interesting position, after Ignatius, in the
succession of faithful men who represented Barnabas and other prophets
and teachers of Antioch, in that ancient seat, from which comes our name
as Christians. I cannot forbear another reference to those recent authors
who have so brilliantly illustrated and depicted the Antioch of the early
Christians; because, if we wish to understand Autolycus, we must feel the
state of society which at once fascinated him, and disgusted Theophilus.
159
The Fathers are dry to those only who lack imagination to reproduce their
age, or who fail to study them geographically and chronologically. Besides
this, one should bring to the study of their works, that sympathy
springing from a burning love to Christ, which borrows its motto, in
slightly altered words, from the noble saying of the African poet: “I am a
Christian, and nothing which concerns Christianity do I consider foreign to
myself.”
Theophilus comes down to us only as an apologist intimately allied in
spirit to Justin and Irenaeus; and he should have been placed with Tatian
between these two, in our series, had not the inexorable laws of our
compilation brought them into this volume. I need add no more to what
follows from the translator, save only the expression of a hope that others
will enjoy this author as I do, rating him very highly, even at the side of
Athenagoras. He is severe, yet gentle too, in dealing with his antagonist;
and he cannot be charged with a more sublime contempt for heathenism
than St. Paul betrays in all his writings, abjuring even Plato and Socrates,
and accentuating his maxim, “The world by wisdom knew not God.” For
him it was Christ to live; and I love Theophilus for this very fault, if it be
such. He was of Antioch; and was content to be, simply and altogether,
nothing but a Christian.
The following is the original INTRODUCTORY NOTICE : —
Little is known of the personal history of Theophilus of Antioch. We
gather from the following treatise that he was born a pagan (1. 14), and
owed his conversion to Christianity to the careful study of the Holy
Scriptures. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., 4. 20) declares that he was the sixth
bishop of Antioch in Syria from the apostles, the names of his supposed
predecessors being Eros, Cornelius, Hero, Ignatius, and Euodius. We also
learn from the same writer, that Theophilus succeeded to the bishopric of
Antioch in the eighth year of the reign of Marcus Aurelius, that is, in A.D.
168. He is related to have died either in A.D. 181, or in A.D. 188; some
assigning him an episcopate of thirteen, and others of twenty-one, years.
Theophilus is said by Eusebius, Jerome, and others, to have written
several works against the heresies which prevailed in his day. He himself
refers in the following treatise (2. 30) to another of his compositions.
Commentaries on the Gospels, arranged in the form of a harmony, and on
160
the Book of Proverbs, are also ascribed to him by Jerome; but the sole
remaining specimen of his writings consists of the three books that follow,
addressed to his friend Autolycus. The occasion which called these forth is
somewhat doubtful. It has been thought that they were written in
refutation of a work which Autolycus had published against Christianity;
but the more probable opinion is, that they were drawn forth by
disparaging remarks made in conversation. The language of the writer (2. 1)
leads to this conclusion.
In handling this subject, Theophilus goes over much the same ground as
Justin Martyr and the rest of the early apologists. He is somewhat fond of
fanciful interpretations of Scripture; but he evidently had a profound
acquaintance with the inspired writings, and he powerfully exhibits their
immense superiority in every respect over the heathen poetry and
philosophy. The whole treatise was well fitted to lead on an intelligent
pagan to the cordial acceptance of Christianity.
(I venture to assign to Theophilus a conjectural date of birth, circiter A.D.
115)
161

THEOPHILUS TO AUTOLYCUS

BOOK 1
CHAPTER 1

AUTOLYCUS AN IDOLATER AND SCORNER OF CHRISTIANS
A F LUENT tongue and an elegant style afford pleasure and such praise as
vainglory delights in, to wretched men who have been corrupted in mind;
the lover of truth does not give heed to ornamented speeches, but examines
the real matter of the speech, what it is, and what kind it is. Since, then,
my friend, you have assailed me with empty words, boasting of your gods
of wood and stone, hammered and cast, carved and graven, which neither
see nor hear, for they are idols, and the works of men’s hands; and since,
besides, you call me a Christian, as if this were a damning name to bear, I,
for my part, avow that I am a Christian, and bear this name beloved of
God, hoping to be serviceable to God. For it is not the case, as you
suppose, that the name of God is hard to bear; but possibly you entertain
this opinion of God, because you are yourself yet unserviceable to Him.

CHAPTER 2

THAT THE EYES OF THE SOUL
MUST BE PURGED ERE GOD CAN BE SEEN
But if you say, “Show me thy God,” I would reply, “Show me yourself,
and I will show you my God.” Show, then, that the eyes of your soul are
capable of seeing, and the ears of your heart able to hear; for as those who
look with the eyes of the body perceive earthly objects and what concerns
this life, and discriminate at the same time between things that differ,
whether light or darkness, white or black, deformed or beautiful, well-
162
proportioned and symmetrical or disproportioned and awkward, or
monstrous or mutilated; and as in like manner also, by the sense of hearing,
we discriminate either sharp, or deep, or sweet sounds; so the same holds
good regarding the eyes of the soul and the ears of the heart, that it is by
them we are able to behold God. For God is seen by those who are enabled
to see Him when they have the eyes of their soul opened: for all have
eyes; but in some they are overspread, and do not see the light of the sun.
Yet it does not follow, because the blind do not see, that the light of the
sun does not shine; but let the blind blame themselves and their own eyes.
So also thou, O man, hast the eyes of thy soul overspread by thy sins and
evil deeds. As a burnished mirror, so ought man to have his soul pure.
When there is rust on the mirror, it is not possible that a man’s face be
seen in the mirror; so also when there is sin in a man, such a man cannot
behold God. Do you, therefore, show me yourself, whether you are not an
adulterer, or a fornicator, or a thief, or a robber, or a purloiner; whether
you do not corrupt boys; whether you are not insolent, or a slanderer, or
passionate, or envious, or proud, or supercilious; whether you are not a
brawler, or covetous, or disobedient to parents; and whether you do not
sell your children; for to those who do these things God is not manifest,
unless they have first cleansed themselves from all impurity. All these
things, then, involve you in darkness, as when a filmy defluxion on the
eyes prevents one from beholding the light of the sun: thus also do
iniquities, 0 man, involve you in darkness, so that you cannot see God.

CHAPTER 3

NATURE OF GOD
You will say, then, to me, “Do you, who see God, explain to me the
appearance of God.” Hear, O man. The appearance of God is ineffable and
indescribable, and cannot be seen by eyes of flesh. For in glory He is
incomprehensible, in greatness unfathomable, in height inconceivable, in
power incomparable, in wisdom unrivaled, in goodness inimitable, in
kindness unutterable. For if I say He is Light, I name but His own work; if
I call Him Word, I name but His sovereignty; if I call Him Mind, I speak
but of His wisdom; if I say He is Spirit, I speak of His breath; if I call Him
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Wisdom, I speak of His offspring; if I call Him Strength, I speak of His
sway; if I call Him Power, I am mentioning His activity; if Providence, I
but mention His goodness; if I call Him Kingdom, I but mention His glory;
if I call Him Lord, I mention His being judge; if I call Him Judge, I speak of
Him as being just; if I call Him Father, I speak of all things as being from
Him; if I call Him Fire, I but mention His anger. You will say, then, to me,
“Is God angry?” Yes; He is angry with those who act wickedly, but He is
good, and kind, and merciful, to those who love and fear Him; for He is a
chastener of the godly, and father of the righteous; but he is a judge and
punisher of the impious.

CHAPTER 4

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
And He is without beginning, because He is unbegotten; and He is
unchangeable, because He is immortal. And he is called God [Qeo>v ] on
account of His having placed [teqeike>nai] all things on security afforded
by Himself; and on account of [qe>ein], for qe>ein means running, and
moving, and being active, and nourishing, and foreseeing, and governing,
and making all things alive. But he is Lord, because He rules over the
universe; Father, because he is before all things; Fashioner and Maker,
because He is creator and maker of the universe; the Highest, because of
His being above all; and Almighty, because He Himself rules and embraces
all. For the heights of heaven, and the depths of the abysses, and the ends
of the earth, are in His hand, and there is no place of His rest. For the
heavens are His work, the earth is His creation, the sea is His handiwork;
man is His formation and His image; sun, moon, and stars are His
elements, made for signs, and seasons, and days, and years, that they may
serve and be slaves to man; and all things God has made out of things that
were not into things that are, in order that through His works His
greatness may be known and understood.
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CHAPTER 5

THE INVISIBLE GOD PERCEIVED THROUGH HIS WORKS
For as the soul in man is not seen, being invisible to men, but is perceived
through the motion of the body, so God cannot indeed be seen by human
eyes, but is beheld and perceived through His providence and works. For,
in like manner, as any person, when he sees a ship on the sea rigged and in
sail, and making for the harbor, will no doubt infer that there is a pilot in
her who is steering her; so we must perceive that God is the governor
[pilot] of the whole universe, though He be not visible to the eyes of the
flesh, since He is incomprehensible. For if a man cannot look upon the
sun, though it be a very small heavenly body, on account of its exceeding
heat and power, how shall not a mortal man be much more unable to face
the glory of God, which is unutterable? For as the pomegranate, with the
rind containing it, has within it many cells and compartments which are
separated by tissues, and has also many seeds dwelling in it, so the whole
creation is contained by the spirit of God, and the containing spirit is along
with the creation contained by the hand of God. As, therefore, the seed of
the pomegranate, dwelling inside, cannot see what is outside the rind, itself
being within; so neither can man, who along with the whole creation is
enclosed by the hand of God, behold God. Then again, an earthly king is
believed to exist, even though he be not seen by all; for he is recognized by
his laws and ordinances, and authorities, and forces, and statues; and are
you unwilling that God should be recognized by His works and mighty
deeds?

CHAPTER 6

GOD IS KNOWN BY HIS WORKS
Consider, O man, His works, — the timely rotation of the seasons, and
the changes of temperature; the regular march of the stars; the well-ordered
course of days and nights, and months, and years; the various beauty of
seeds, and plants, and fruits; and the divers species of quadrupeds, and
birds, and reptiles, and fishes, both of the rivers and of the sea; or consider
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the instinct implanted in these animals to beget and rear offspring, not for
their own profit, but for the use of man; and the providence with which
God provides nourishment for all flesh, or the subjection in which He has
ordained that all things subserve mankind. Consider, too, the flowing of
sweet fountains and never-failing rivers, and the seasonable supply of
dews, and showers, and rains; the manifold movement of the heavenly
bodies, the morning star rising and heralding the approach of the perfect
luminary; and the constellation of Pleiades, and Orion, and Arcturus, and
the orbit of the other stars that circle through the heavens, all of which the
manifold wisdom of God has called by names of their own. He is God
alone who made light out of darkness, and brought forth light from His
treasures, and formed the chambers of the south wind, and the treasure-
houses of the deep, and the bounds of the seas, and the treasuries of
snows and hail-storms, collecting the waters in the storehouses of the
deep, and the darkness in His treasures, and bringing forth the sweet, and
desirable, and pleasant light out of His treasures; “who causeth the vapors
to ascend from the ends of the earth: He maketh lightnings for the rain;”
who sends forth His thunder to terrify, and foretells by the lightning the
peal of the thunder, that no soul may faint with the sudden shock; and
who so moderates the violence of the lightning as it flashes out of heaven,
that it does not consume the earth; for, if the lightning were allowed all its
power, it would burn up the earth; and were the thunder allowed all its
power, it would overthrow all the works that are therein.

CHAPTER 7

WE SHALL SEE GOD WHEN WE PUT ON IMMORTALITY
This is my God, the Lord of all, who alone stretched out the heaven, and
established the breadth of the earth under it; who stirs the deep recesses of
the sea, and makes its waves roar; who rules its power, and stills the
tumult of its waves; who founded the earth upon the waters, and gave a
spirit to nourish it; whose breath giveth light to the whole, who, if He
withdraw His breath, the whole will utterly fail. By Him you speak, O
man; His breath you breathe yet Him you know not. And this is your
condition, because of the blindness of your soul, and the hardness of your
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heart. But, if you will, you may be healed. Entrust yourself to the
Physician, and He will couch the eyes of your soul and of your heart. Who
is the Physician? God, who heals and makes alive through His word and
wisdom. God by His own word and wisdom made all things; for “by His
word were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His
mouth.” Most excellent is His wisdom. By His wisdom God founded the
earth; and by knowledge He prepared the heavens; and by understanding
were the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the clouds poured out
their dews. If thou perceivest these things, O man, living chastely, and
holily, and righteously, thou canst see God. But before all let faith and the
fear of God have rule in thy heart, and then shalt thou understand these
things. When thou shalt have put off the mortal, and put on incorruption,
then shalt thou see God worthily. For God will raise thy flesh immortal
with thy soul; and then, having become immortal, thou shalt see the
Immortal, if now you believe on Him; and then you shall know that you
have. spoken unjustly against Him.

CHAPTER 8

FAITH REQUIRED IN ALL MATTERS
But you do not believe that the dead are raised. When the resurrection
shall take place, then you will believe, whether you will or no; and your
faith shall be reckoned for unbelief, unless you believe now. And why do
you not believe? Do you not know that faith is the leading principle in all
matters? For what husbandman can reap, unless he first trust his seed to
the earth? Or who can cross the sea, unless he first entrust himself to the
boat and the pilot? And what sick person can be healed, unless first he
trust himself to the care of the physician? And what art or knowledge can
any one learn, unless he first apply and entrust himself to the teacher? If,
then, the husbandman trusts the earth, and the sailor the boat, and the sick
the physician, will you not place confidence in God, even when you hold
so many pledges at His hand? For first He created you out of nothing, and
brought you into existence (for if your father was not, nor your mother,
much more were you yourself at one time not in being), and formed you
out of a small and moist substance, even out of the least drop, which at
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one time had itself no being; and God introduced you into this life.
Moreover, you believe that the images made by men are gods, and do great
things; and can you not believe that the God who made you is able also to
make you afterwards?

CHAPTER 9

IMMORALITIES OF THE GODS
And, indeed, the names of those whom you say you worship, are the
names of dead men. And these, too, who and what kind of men were they?
Is not Saturn found to be a cannibal, destroying and devouring his own
children? And if you name his son Jupiter, hear also his deeds and conduct
— first, how he was suckled by a goat on Mount Ida, and having slain it,
according to the myths, and flayed it, he made himself a coat of the hide.
And his other deeds, — his incest, and adultery, and lust, — will be better
recounted by Homer and the rest of the poets. Why should I further speak
of his sons? How Hercules burnt himself; and about the drunk and raging
Bacchus; and of Apollo fearing and fleeing from Achilles, and falling in
love with Daphne, and being unaware of the fate of Hyacinthus; and of
Venus wounded, and of Mars, the pest of mortals; and of the ichor flowing
from the so-called gods. And these, indeed, are the milder kinds of legends;
since the god who is called Osiris is found to have been torn limb from
limb, whose mysteries are celebrated annually, as if he had perished, and
were being found, and sought for limb by limb. For neither is it known
whether he perished, nor is it shown whether he is found. And why
should I speak of Atys mutilated, or of Adonis wandering in the wood,
and wounded by a boar while hunting; or of Aesculapius struck by a
thunderbolt; or of the fugitive Serapis chased from Sinope to Alexandria;
or of the Scythian Diana, herself, too, a fugitive, and a homicide, and a
huntress, and a passionate lover of Endymion? Now, it is not we who
publish these things, but your own writers and poets.
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CHAPTER 10

ABSURDITIES OF IDOLATRY
Why should I further recount the multitude of animals worshipped by the
Egyptians, both reptiles, and cattle, and wild beasts, and birds and river-
fishes; and even wash-pots and disgraceful noises? But if you cite the
Greeks and the other nations, they worship stones and wood, and other
kinds of material substances, — the images, as we have just been saying,
of dead men. For Phidias is found in Pisa making for the Eleians the
Olympian Jupiter, and at Athens the Minerva of the Acropolis. And I will
inquire of you, my friend, how many Jupiters exist. For there is, firstly,
Jupiter surnamed Olympian, then Jupiter Latiaris, and Jupiter Cassius,
and Jupiter Tonans, and Jupiter Propator, and Jupiter Pannychius, and
Jupiter Poliuchus, and Jupiter Capitolinus; and that Jupiter, the son of
Saturn, who is king of the Cretans, has a tomb in Crete, but the rest,
possibly, were not thought worthy of tombs. And if you speak of the
mother of those who are called gods, far be it from me to utter with my
lips her deeds, or the deeds of those by whom she is worshipped (for it is
unlawful for us so much as to name such things), and what vast taxes and
revenues she and her sons furnish to the king. For these are not gods, but
idols, as we have already said, the works of men’s hands and unclean
demons. And such may all those become who make them and put their
trust in them!

CHAPTER 11

THE KING TO BE HONORED, GOD TO BE WORSHIPPED
Wherefore I will rather honor the king [than your gods], not, indeed,
worshipping him, but praying for him. But God, the living and true God, I
worship, knowing that the king is made by Him. You will say, then, to me,
“Why do you not worship the king?” Because he is not made to be
worshipped, but to be reverenced with lawful honor, for he is not a god,
but a man appointed by God, not to be worshipped, but to judge justly.
For in a kind of way his government is committed to him by God: as He
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will not have those called kings whom He has appointed under Himself;
for “king” is his title, and it is not lawful for another to use it; so neither is
it lawful for any to be worshipped but God only. Wherefore, O man, you
are wholly in error. Accordingly, honor the king, be subject to him, and
pray for him with loyal mind; for if you do this, you do the will of God.
For the law that is of God, says, “My son, fear thou the Lord and the
king, and be not disobedient to them; for suddenly they shall take
vengeance on their enemies.”

CHAPTER 12

MEANING OF THE NAME CHRISTIAN
And about your laughing at me and calling me “Christian,” you know not
what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and
serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable
and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or
house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And
what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not
anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it
be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a
certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be
anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this
account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

CHAPTER 13

THE RESURRECTION PROVED BY EXAMPLES
Then, as to your denying that the dead are raised — for you say, “Show
me even one who has been raised from the dead, that seeing I may believe,”
— first, what great thing is it if you believe when you have seen the thing
done? Then, again, you believe that Hercules, who burned himself, lives;
and that Aesculapius, who was struck with lightning, was raised; and do
you disbelieve the things that are told you by God? But, suppose I should
show you a dead man raised and alive, even this you would disbelieve.
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God indeed exhibits to you many proofs that you may believe Him. For
consider, if you please, the dying of seasons, and days, and nights, how
these also die and rise again. And what? Is there not a resurrection going on
of seeds and fruits, and this, too, for the use of men? A seed of wheat, for
example, or of the other grains, when it is cast into the earth, first dies and
rots away, then is raised, and becomes a stalk of corn. And the nature of
trees and fruit-trees, — is it not that according to the appointment of God
they produce their fruits in their seasons out of what has been unseen and
invisible? Moreover, sometimes also a sparrow or some of the other birds,
when in drinking it has swallowed a seed of apple or fig, or something else,
has come to some rocky hillock or tomb, and has left the seed in its
droppings, and the seed, which was once swallowed, and has passed
though so great a heat, now striking root, a tree has grown up. And all
these things does the wisdom of God effect, in order to manifest even by
these things, that God is able to effect the general resurrection of all men.
And if you would witness a more wonderful sight, which may prove a
resurrection not only of earthly but of heavenly bodies, consider the
resurrection of the moon, which occurs monthly; how it wanes, dies, and
rises again. Hear further, O man, of the work of resurrection going on in
yourself, even though you are unaware of it. For perhaps you have
sometimes fallen sick, and lost flesh, and strength, and beauty; but when
you received again from God mercy and healing, you picked up again in
flesh and appearance, and recovered also your strength. And as you do not
know where your flesh went away and disappeared to, so neither do you
know whence it grew, Or whence it came again. But you will say, “From
meats and drinks changed into blood.” Quite so; but this, too, is the work
of God, who thus operates, and not of any other.

CHAPTER 14

THEOPHILUS AN EXAMPLE OF CONVERSION
Therefore, do not be skeptical, but believe; for I myself also used to
disbelieve that this would take place, but now, having taken these things
into consideration, I believe. At the same time, I met with the sacred
Scriptures of the holy prophets, who also by the Spirit of God foretold
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the things that have already happened, just as they came to pass, and the
things now occurring as they are now happening, and things future in the
order in which they shall be accomplished. Admitting, therefore, the proof
which events happening as predicted afford, I do not disbelieve, but I
believe, obedient to God, whom, if you please, do you also submit to,
believing Him, lest if now you continue unbelieving, you be convinced
hereafter, when you are tormented with eternal punishments; which
punishments, when they had been foretold by the prophets, the later-born
poets and philosophers stole from the holy Scriptures, to make their
doctrines worthy of credit. Yet these also have spoken beforehand of the
punishments that are to light upon the profane and unbelieving, in order
that none be left without a witness, or be able to say, “We have not heard,
neither have we known.” But do you also, if you please, give reverential
attention to the prophetic Scriptures, and they will make your way plainer
for escaping the eternal punishments, and obtaining the eternal prizes of
God. For He who gave the mouth for speech, and formed the ear to hear,
and made the eye to see, will examine all things, and will judge righteous
judgment, rendering merited awards to each. To those who by patient
continuance in well-doing seek immortality, He will give life everlasting,
joy, peace, rest, and abundance of good things, which neither hath eye
seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.
But to the unbelieving and despisers, who obey not the truth, but are
obedient to unrighteousness, when they shall have been filled with
adulteries and fornications, and filthiness, and covetousness, and unlawful
idolatries, there shall be anger and wrath, tribulation and anguish, and at
the last everlasting fire shall possess such men. Since you said, “Show me
thy God,” this is my God, and I counsel you to fear Him and to trust Him.
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BOOK 2
CHAPTER 1

OCCASION OF WRITING THIS BOOK
WHEN we had formerly some conversation, my very good friend
Autolycus, and when you inquired who was my God, and for a little paid
attention to my discourse, I made some explanations to you concerning
my religion; and then having bid one another adieu, we went with much
mutual friendliness each to his own house although at first you had borne
somewhat hard upon me. For you know and remember that you supposed
our doctrine was foolishness. As you then afterwards urged me to do, I am
desirous, though not educated to the art of speaking, of more accurately
demonstrating, by means of this tractate, the vain labor and empty
worship in which you are held; and I wish also, from a few of your own
histories which you read, and perhaps do not yet quite understand, to
make the truth plain to you.

CHAPTER 2

THE GODS ARE DESPISED WHEN THEY ARE MADE;
BUT BECOME VALUABLE WHEN BOUGHT
And in truth it does seem to me absurd that statuaries and carvers, or
painters, or molders, should both design and paint, and carve, and mold,
and prepare gods, who, when they are produced by the artificers, are
reckoned of no value; but as soon as they are purchased by some and
placed in some so-called temple, or in some house, not only do those who
bought them sacrifice to them, but also those who made and sold them
come with much devotion, and apparatus of sacrifice, and libations, to
worship them; and they reckon them gods, not seeing that they are just
such as when they were made by themselves, whether stone, or brass, or
wood, or color, or some other material. And this is your case, too, when
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you read the histories and genealogies of the so-called gods. For when you
read of their births, you think of them as men, but afterwards you call
them gods, and worship them, not reflecting nor understanding that, when
born, they are exactly such beings as ye read of before.

CHAPTER 3

WHAT HAS BECOME OF THE GODS?
And of the gods of former times, if indeed they were begotten, the
generation was sufficiently prolific. But now, where is their generation
exhibited? For if of old they begot and were begotten, it is plain that even
to the present time there should be gods begotten and born; or at least if it
be not so, such a race will be reckoned impotent. For either they have
waxed old, and on that account no longer beget, or they have died out and
no longer exist. For if the gods were begotten, they ought to be born even
until now, as men, too, are born; yea, much more numerous should the
gods be than men, as the Sibyl says: —
“For if the gods beget, and each remains
Immortal, then the race of gods must be
More numerous than mortals, and the throng
So great that mortals find no room to stand.”

For if the children begotten of men who are mortal and short-lived make an
appearance even until now, and men have not ceased to be born, so that
cities and villages are full, and even the country places also are inhabited,
how ought not the gods, who, according to your poets, do not die, much
rather to beget and be begotten, since you say that the gods were produced
by generation? And why was the mount which is called Olympus
formerly inhabited by the gods, but now lies deserted? Or why did
Jupiter, in days of yore, dwell on Ida, and was known to dwell there,
according to Homer and other poets, but now is beyond ken? And why
was he found only in one part of the earth, and not everywhere? For either
he neglected the other parts, or was not able to be present everywhere and
provide for all. For if he were, e.g., in an eastern place, he was not in the
western; and if, on the other hand, he were present in the western parts, he
was not in the eastern. But this is the attribute of God, the Highest and
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Almighty, and the living God, not only to be everywhere present, but also
to see all things and to hear all, and by no means to be confined in a place;
for if He were, then the place containing Him would be greater than He; for
that which contains is greater than that which is contained. For God is not
contained, but is Himself the place of all. But why has Jupiter left Ida?
Was it because he died, or did that mountain no longer please him? And
where has he gone? To heaven? No. But you will perhaps say, To Crete?
Yes, for there, too, his tomb is shown to this day. Again, you will say, To
Pisa, where he reflects glory on the hands of Phidias to this day. Let us,
then, proceed to the writings of the philosophers and poets.

CHAPTER 4

ABSURD OPINIONS OF THE
PHILOSOPHERS CONCERNING GOD
Some of the philosophers of the Porch say that there is no God at all; or, if
there is, they say that He cares for none but Himself; and these views the
folly of Epicurus and Chrysippus has set forth at large. And others say
that all things are produced without external agency, and that the world is
uncreated, and that nature is eternal; and have dared to give out that there
is no providence of God at all, but maintain that God is only each man’s
conscience. And others again maintain that the spirit which pervades all
things is God. But Plato and those of his school acknowledge indeed that
God is uncreated, and the Father and Maker of all things; but then they
maintain that matter as well as God is uncreated, and aver that it is coeval
with God. But if God is uncreated and matter uncreated, God is no longer,
according to the Platonists, the Creator of all things, nor, so far as their
opinions hold, is the monarchy of God established. And further, as God,
because He is uncreated, is also unalterable; so if matter, too, were
uncreated, it also would be unalterable, and equal to God; for that which is
created is mutable and alterable, but that which is uncreated is immutable
and unalterable. And what great thing is it if God made the world out of
existent materials? For even a human artist, when he gets material from
some one, makes of it what he pleases. But the power of God is
manifested in this, that out of things that are not He makes whatever He
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pleases; just as the bestowal of life and motion is the prerogative of no
other than God alone. For even man makes indeed an image, but reason and
breath, or feeling, he cannot give to what he has made. But God has this
property in excess of what man can do, in that He makes a work, endowed
with reason, life, sensation. As, therefore, in all these respects God is more
powerful than man, so also in this; that out of things that are not He
creates and has created things that are, and whatever He pleases, as He
pleases.

CHAPTER 5

OPINIONS OF HOMER AND HESIOD
CONCERNING THE GODS
So that the opinion of your philosophers and authors is discordant; for
while the former have propounded the foregoing opinions, the poet Homer
is found explaining the origin not only of the world, but also of the gods,
on quite another hypothesis. For he says somewhere: —
“Father of gods, Oceanus, and she
Who bare the gods, their mother Tethys, too,
From whom all rivers spring, and every sea.”

In saying which, however, he does not present God to us. For who does
not know that the ocean is water? But if water, then not God. God indeed,
if He is the creator of all things, as He certainly is, is the creator both of
the water and of the seas. And Hesiod himself also declared the origin, not
only of the gods, but also of the world itself. And though he said that the
world was created, he showed no inclination to tell us by whom it was
created. Besides, he said that Saturn, and his sons Jupiter, Neptune, and
Pluto, were gods, though we find that they are later born than the world.
And he also relates how Saturn was assailed in war by his own son
Jupiter; for he says: —
“His father Saturn he by might o’ercame,
And ‘mong th’ immortals ruled with justice wise,
And honors fit distributed to each.”
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Then he introduces in his poem the daughters of Jupiter, whom he names
Muses, and as whose suppliant he appears, desiring to ascertain from
them how all things were made; for he says: —
“Daughters of Jove, all hail! Grant me your aid
That I in numbers sweet and well-arrayed,
Of the immortal gods may sing the birth;
Who of the starry heav’ns were born, and earth;
Who, springing from the murky night at first,
Were by the briny ocean reared and nursed.
Tell, too, who form unto the earth first gave,
And rivers, and the boundless sea whose wave
Unwearied sinks, then rears its crest on high;
And how was spread you glittering canopy
Of glistening stars that stud the wide-spread heaven.
Whence sprang the gods by whom all good is given?
Tell from their hands what varied gifts there came,
Riches to some, to others wealth, or fame;
How they have dwelt from the remotest time
In many-nooked Olympus’ sunny clime.
These things, ye Muses, say, who ever dwell
Among Olympian shades — since ye can tell:
From the beginning there thy feet have strayed;
Then tell us which of all things first was made.”

But how could the Muses, who are younger than the world, know these
things? Or how could they relate to Hesiod [what was happening], when
their father was not yet born?

CHAPTER 6

HESIOD ON THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD
And in a certain way he indeed admits matter [as self-existent] and the
creation of the world [without a creator], saying: —
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“First of all things was chaos made, and next
Broad-bosom’d earth’s foundations firm were fixed,
Where safely the immortals dwell for aye,
Who in the snowy-peak’d Olympus stay.
Afterwards gloomy Tartarus had birth
In the recesses of broad-pathwayed earth,
And Love, ev’n among gods most beauteous still,
Who comes all-conquering, bending mind and will,
Delivering from care, and giving then
Wise counsel in the breasts of gods and men.
From chaos Erebus and night were born,
From night and Erebus sprung air and morn.
Earth in her likeness made the starry heaven,
That unto all things shelter might be given,
And that the blessed gods might there repose.
The lofty mountains by her power arose,
For the wood-nymphs she made the pleasant caves,
Begot the sterile sea with all his waves,
Loveless; but when by heaven her love was sought,
Then the deep-eddying ocean forth she brought.”

And saying this, he has not yet explained by whom all this was made. For
if chaos existed in the beginning, and matter of some sort, being uncreated,
was previously existing, who was it that effected the change on its
condition, and gave it a different order and shape? Did matter itself alter its
own form and arrange itself into a world (for Jupiter was born, not only
long after matter, but long after the world and many men; and so, too, was
his father Saturn), or was there some ruling power which made it; I mean,
of course, God, who also fashioned it into a world? Besides, he is found in
every way to talk nonsense, and to contradict himself. For when he
mentions earth, and sky, and sea, he gives us to understand that from these
the gods were produced; and from these again [the gods] he declares that
certain very dreadful men were sprung, — the race of the Titans and the
Cyclopes, and a crowd of giants, and of the Egyptian gods, — or, rather,
vain men, as Apollonides, surnamed Horapius, mentions in the book
entitled Semenouthi, and in his other histories concerning the worship of
the Egyptians and their kings, and the vain labors in which they engaged.
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CHAPTER 7

FABULOUS HEATHEN GENEALOGIES
Why need I recount the Greek fables, — of Pluto, king of darkness, of
Neptune descending beneath the sea, and embracing Melanippe and
begetting a cannibal son, — or the many tales your writers have woven
into their tragedies concerning the sons of Jupiter, and whose pedigree
they register because they were born men, and not gods? And the comic
poet Aristophanes, in the play called “The Birds,” having taken upon him
to handle the subject of the Creation, said that in the beginning the world
was produced from an egg, saying: —
“A windy egg was laid by black-winged night
At first.”

But Satyrus, also giving a history of the Alexandrine families, beginning
from Philopator, who was also named Ptolemy, gives out that Bacchus
was his progenitor; wherefore also Ptolemy was the founder of this
family. Satyrus then speaks thus: That Dejanira was born of Bacchus and
Althea, the daughter of Thestius; and from her and Hercules the son of
Jupiter there sprang, as I suppose, Hyllus; and from him Cleodemus, and
from him Aristomachus, and from him Temenus, and from him Ceisus, and
from him Maron, and from him Thestrus, and from him Acous, and from
him Aristomidas, and from him Caranus, and from him Coenus, and from
him Tyrimmas, and from him Perdiccas, and from him Philip, and from
him Aeropus, and from him Alcetas, and from him Amyntas, and from
him Bocrus, and from him Meleager, and from him Arsinoe, and from her
and Lagus Ptolemy Soter, and from him and Arsinoe Ptolemy Euergetes,
and from him and Berenice, daughter of Maga, king of Cyrene, Ptolemy
Philopator. Thus, then, stands the relationship of the Alexandrine kings to
Bacchus. And therefore in the Dionysian tribe there are distinct families:
the Althean from Althea, who was the wife of Dionysus and daughter of
Thestius; the family of Dejanira also, from her who was the daughter of
Dionysus and Althea, and wife of Hercules; — whence, too, the families
have their names: the family of Ariadne, from Ariadne, daughter of Minos
and wife of Dionysus, a dutiful daughter, who had intercourse with
Dionysus in another form; the Thestian, from Thestius, the father of
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Althea; the Thoantian, from Thoas, son of Dionysus; the Staphylian, from
Staphylus, son of Dionysus; the Euaenian, from Eunous, son of Dionysus;
the Maronian, from Maron, son of Ariadne and Dionysus; — for all these
are sons of Dionysus. And, indeed, many other names were thus
originated, and exist to this day; as the Heraclidae from Hercules, and the
Apollonidae from Apollo, and the Poseidonii from Poseidon, and from
Zeus the Dii and Diogenae.

CHAPTER 8

OPINIONS CONCERNING PROVIDENCE
And why should I recount further the vast array of such names and
genealogies? So that all the authors and poets, and those called
philosophers, are wholly deceived; and so, too, are they who give heed to
them. For they plentifully composed fables and foolish stories about their
gods, and did not exhibit them as gods, but as men, and men, too, of whom
some were drunken, and others fornicators and murderers. But also
concerning the origin of the world, they uttered contradictory and absurd
opinions. First, some of them, as we before explained, maintained that the
world is uncreated. And those that said it was uncreated and self-
producing contradicted those who propounded that it was created. For by
conjecture and human conception they spoke, and not knowing the truth.
And others, again, said that there was a providence, and destroyed the
positions of the former writers. Aratus, indeed, says: —
“From Jove begin my song; nor ever be
The name unuttered: all are full of thee;
The ways and haunts of men; the heavens and sea:
On thee our being hangs; in thee we move;
All are thy offspring and the seed of Jove.
Benevolent, he warns mankind to good,
Urges to toil and prompts the hope of food.
He tells where cattle best may graze, and where
The soil, deep-furrowed, yellow grain will bear.
What time the husbandman should plant or sow,
’Tis his to tell, ’tis his alone to know.”
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Who, then, shall we believe: Aratus as here quoted, or Sophocles, when he
says: —
“And foresight of the future there is none;
’Tis best to live at random, as one can”?

And Homer, again, does not agree with this, for he says that virtue
“Waxes or wanes in men as Jove decrees.”

And Simonides says: —
“No man nor state has virtue save from God;
Counsel resides in God; and wretched man
Has in himself nought but his wretchedness.”

So, too, Euripides: —
“Apart from God, there’s nothing owned by men.”

And Menander: —
“Save God alone, there’s none for us provides.”

And Euripides again: —
“For when God wills to save, all things He’ll bend
To serve as instruments to work His end.”

And Thestius: —
“If God design to save you, safe you are,
Though sailing in mid-ocean on a mat.”

And saying numberless things of a like kind, they contradicted themselves.
At least Sophocles, who in another place denied Providence, says: —
“No mortal can evade the stroke of God.”

Besides, they both introduced a multitude of gods, and yet spoke of a
Unity; and against those who affirmed a Providence they maintained in
opposition that there was no Providence. Wherefore Euripides says: —
“We labor much and spend our strength in vain,
For empty hope, not foresight, is our guide.”

And without meaning to do so, they acknowledge that they know not the
truth; but being inspired by demons and puffed up by them, they spoke at
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their instance whatever they said. For indeed the poets, — Homer, to wit,
and Hesiod, being, as they say, inspired by the Muses, — spoke from a
deceptive fancy, and not with a pure but an erring spirit. And this, indeed,
clearly appears from the fact, that even to this day the possessed are
sometimes exorcised in the name of the living and true God; and these
spirits of error themselves confess that they are demons who also
formerly inspired these writers. But sometimes some of them wakened up
in soul, and, that they might be for a witness both to themselves and to all
men, spoke things in harmony with the prophets regarding the monarchy
of God, and the judgment and such like.

CHAPTER 9

THE PROPHET’S INSPIRED BY THE HOLY GHOST
But men of God carrying in them a Holy Spirit and becoming prophets,
being inspired and made wise by God, became God-taught, and holy, and
righteous. Wherefore they were also deemed worthy of receiving this
reward, that they should become instruments of God, and contain the
wisdom that is from Him, through which wisdom they uttered both what
regarded the creation of the world and all other things. For they predicted
also pestilences, and famines, and wars. And there was not one or two, but
many, at various times and seasons among the Hebrews; and also among
the Greeks there was the Sibyl; and they all have spoken things consistent
and harmonious with each other, both what happened before them and
what happened in their own time, and what things are now being fulfilled
in our own day: wherefore we are persuaded also concerning the future
things that they will fall out, as also the first have been accomplished.

CHAPTER 10

THE WORLD CREATED BY GOD THROUGH THE WORD
And first, they taught us with one consent that God made all things out of
nothing; for nothing was coeval with God: but He being His own place,
and wanting nothing, and existing before the ages, willed to make man by
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whom He might be known; for him, therefore, He prepared the world. For
he that is created is also needy; but he that is uncreated stands in need of
nothing. God, then, having His own Word internal within His own bowels,
begat Him, emitting Him along with His own wisdom before all things. He
had this Word as a helper in the things that were created by Him, and by
Him He made all things. He is called “governing principle” [ajrch<], because
He rules, and is Lord of all things fashioned by Him. He, then, being Spirit
of God, and governing principle, and wisdom, and power of the highest,
came down upon the prophets, and through them spoke of the creation of
the world and of all other things. For the prophets were not when the
world came into existence, but the wisdom of God which was in Him, and
His holy Word which was always present with Him. Wherefore He
speaks thus by the prophet Solomon: “When He prepared the heavens I
was there, and when He appointed the foundations of the earth I was by
Him as one brought up with Him.” And Moses, who lived many years
before Solomon, or, rather, the Word of God by him as by an instrument,
says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” First he
named the “beginning,” and “creation,” then he thus introduced God; for
not lightly and on slight occasion is it right to name God. For the divine
wisdom foreknew that some would trifle and name a multitude of gods
that do not exist. In order, therefore, that the living God might be known
by His works, and that [it might be known that] by His Word God created
the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, he said, “In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth.” Then having spoken of their
creation, he explains to us: “And the earth was without form, and void,
and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved
upon the water.” This, sacred Scripture teaches at the outset, to show that
matter, from which God made and fashioned the world, was in some
manner created, being produced by God.

CHAPTER 11

THE SIX DAYS’ WORK DESCRIBED
Now, the beginning of the creation is light; since light manifests the things
that are created. Wherefore it is said: “And God said, Let light be, and light
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was; and God saw the light, that it was good,” manifestly made good for
man. “And God divided the light from the darkness; and God called the
light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the
morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the
midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters: and it
was so. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were
under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.
And God called the firmament Heaven: and God saw that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let
the water under the heaven be gathered into one place, and let the dry land
appear: and it was so. And the waters were gathered together into their
places, and the dry land appeared. And God called the dry land Earth, and
the gathering together of the waters He called Seas: and God saw that it
was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding
seed after his kind and in his likeness, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after
his kind, whose seed is in itself, in his likeness: and it was so. And the
earth brought forth grass, the herb yielding seed after his kind, and the
fruit-tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind, on the
earth: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning
were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of
the heaven, to give light on earth, to divide the day from the night; and let
them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years; and let
them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon the
earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to
rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also.
And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the
earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light
from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the
morning were the fourth day. And God said, Let the waters bring forth the
creeping things that have life, and fowl flying over the earth in the
firmament of heaven: and it was so. And God created great whales, and
every living creature that creepeth, which the waters brought forth after
their kind and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was
good. And God blessed them saying, Increase and multiply, and fill the
waters of the sea, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and
the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the
living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the
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earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth
after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and all the creeping things of
the earth. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of
the heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And God created man: in the
image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God
blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,
and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the
fowl of the heaven, and over all cattle, and over all the earth, and over all
the creeping things that creep upon the earth. And God said, Behold I have
given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth,
and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it
shall be for meat, and to all the beasts of the earth, and to all the fowls of
heaven, and to every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, which
has in it the breath of life; every green herb for meat: and it was so. And
God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And
the evening and the morning were the sixth day. And the heaven and the
earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the sixth day God
finished His works which He made, and rested on the seventh day from all
His works which He made. And God blessed the seventh day, and
sanctified it; because in it He rested from all His works which God began
to create.”

CHAPTER 12

THE GLORY OF THE SIX DAYS’ WORK
Of this six days’ work no man can give a worthy explanation and
description of all its parts, not though he had ten thousand tongues and ten
thousand mouths; nay, though he were to live ten thousand years,
sojourning in this life, not even so could he utter anything worthy of these
things, on account of the exceeding greatness and riches of the wisdom of
God which there is in the six days’ work above narrated. Many writers
indeed have imitated [the narration], and essayed to give an explanation of
these things; yet, though they thence derived some suggestions, both
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concerning the creation of the world and the nature of man, they have
emitted no slightest spark of truth. And the utterances of the
philosophers, and writers, and poets have an appearance of
trustworthiness, on account of the beauty of their diction; but their
discourse is proved to be foolish and idle, because the multitude of their
nonsensical frivolities is very great; and not a stray morsel of truth is
found in them. For even if any truth seems to have been uttered by them,
it has a mixture of error. And as a deleterious drug, when mixed with
honey or wine, or some other thing, makes the whole [mixture] hurtful and
profitless; so also eloquence is in their case found to be labor in vain; yea,
rather an injurious thing to those who credit it. Moreover, [they spoke]
concerning the seventh day, which all men acknowledge; but the most
know not that what among the Hebrews is called the “Sabbath,” is
translated into Greek the “Seventh” (eJbdoma>v), a name which is adopted
by every nation, although they know not the reason of the appellation.
And as for what the poet Hesiod says of Erebus being produced from
chaos, as well as the earth and love which lords it over his [Hesiod’s] gods
and men, his dictum is shown to be idle and frigid, and quite foreign to the
truth. For it is not meet that God be conquered by pleasure; since even
men of temperance abstain from all base pleasure and wicked lust.

CHAPTER 13

REMARKS ON THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
Moreover, his [Hesiod’s] human, and mean, and very weak conception, so
far as regards God, is discovered in his beginning to relate the creation of
all things from the earthly things here below. For man, being below, begins
to build from the earth, and cannot in order make the roof, unless he has
first laid the foundation. But the power of God is shown in this, that, first
of all, He creates out of nothing, according to His will, the things that are
made. “For the things which are impossible with men are possible with
God.” Wherefore, also, the prophet mentioned that the creation of the
heavens first of all took place, as a kind of roof, saying: “At the first God
created the heavens” — that is, that by means of the “first” principle the
heavens were made, as we have already shown. And by “earth” he means
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the ground and foundation, as by “the deep” he means the multitude of
waters; and “darkness” he speaks of, on account of the heaven which God
made covering the waters and the earth like a lid. And by the Spirit which
is borne above the waters, he means that which God gave for animating the
creation, as he gave life to man, mixing what is fine with what is fine. For
the Spirit is fine, and the water is fine, that the Spirit may nourish the
water, and the water penetrating everywhere along with the Spirit, may
nourish creation. For the Spirit being one, and holding the place of light,
was between the water and the heaven, in order that the darkness might
not in any way communicate with the heaven, which was nearer God,
before God said, “Let there be light.” The heaven, therefore, being like a
dome-shaped covering, comprehended matter which was like a clod. And
so another prophet, Isaiah by name, spoke in these words: “It is God who
made the heavens as a vault, and stretched them as a tent to dwell in.” The
command, then, of God, that is, His Word, shining as a lamp in an
enclosed chamber, lit up all that was under heaven, when He had made
light apart from the world. And the light God called Day, and the darkness
Night. Since man would not have been able to call the light Day, or the
darkness Night, nor, indeed, to have given names to the other things, had
not he received the nomenclature from God, who made the things
themselves. In the very beginning, therefore, of the history and genesis of
the world, the holy Scripture spoke not concerning this firmament [which
we see], but concerning another heaven, which is to us invisible, after
which this heaven which we see has been called “firmament,” and to which
half the water was taken up that it might serve for rains, and showers, and
dews to mankind. And half the water was left on earth for rivers, and
fountains, and seas. The water, then, covering all the earth, and specially
its hollow places, God, through His Word, next caused the waters to be
collected into one collection, and the dry land to become visible, which
formerly had been invisible. The earth thus becoming visible, was yet
without form. God therefore formed and adorned it with all kinds of herbs,
and seeds and plants.
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CHAPTER 14

THE WORLD COMPARED TO THE SEA
Consider, further, their variety, and diverse beauty, and multitude, and
how through them resurrection is exhibited, for a pattern of the
resurrection of all men which is to be. For who that considers it will not
marvel that a fig-tree is produced from a fig-seed, or that very huge trees
grow from the other very little seeds? And we say that the world
resembles the sea. For as the sea, if it had not had the influx and supply of
the rivers and fountains to nourish it, would long since have been parched
by reason of its saltness; so also the world, if it had not had the law of
God and the prophets flowing and welling up sweetness, and compassion,
and righteousness, and the doctrine of the holy commandments of God,
would long ere now have come to ruin, by reason of the wickedness and
sin which abound in it. And as in the sea there are islands, some of them
habitable, and well-watered, and fruitful, with havens and harbors in which
the storm-tossed may find refuge, — so God has given to the world which
is driven and tempest-tossed by sins, assemblies — we mean holy
churches — in which survive the doctrines of the truth, as in the island-
harbors of good anchorage; and into these run those who desire to be
saved, being lovers of the truth, and wishing to escape the wrath and
judgment of God. And as, again, there are other islands, rocky and without
water, and barren, and infested by wild beasts, and uninhabitable, and
serving only to injure navigators and the storm-tossed, on which ships are
wrecked, and those driven among them perish, — so there are doctrines of
error — I mean heresies — which destroy those who approach them. For
they are not guided by the word of truth; but as pirates, when they have
filled their vessels, drive them on the fore-mentioned places, that they may
spoil them: so also it happens in the case of those who err from the truth,
that they are all totally ruined by their error.
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CHAPTER 15

OF THE FOURTH DAY
On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, who possesses
foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers, that they were
going to say, that the things which grow on the earth are produced from
the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In order, therefore, that the
truth might be obvious, the plants and seeds were produced prior to the
heavenly bodies, for what is posterior cannot produce that which is prior.
And these contain the pattern and type of a great mystery. For the sun is
a type of God, and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the
moon in power and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun
remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect,
being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality,
and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a
type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the
future resurrection. In like manner also the three days which were before
the luminaries, are types of the Trinity, of God, and His Word, and His
wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there
may be God, the Word, wisdom, man. Wherefore also on the fourth day
the lights were made. The disposition of the stars, too, contains a type of
the arrangement and order of the righteous and pious, and of those who
keep the law and commandments of God. For the brilliant and bright stars
are an imitation of the prophets, and therefore they remain fixed, not
declining, nor passing from place to place. And those which hold the
second place in brightness, are types of the people of the righteous. And
those, again, which change their position, and flee from place to place,
which also are called planets, they too are a type of the men who have
wandered from God, abandoning His law and commandments.
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CHAPTER 16

OF THE FIFTH DAY
On the fifth day the living creatures which proceed from the waters were
produced, through which also is revealed the manifold wisdom of God in
these things; for who could count their multitude and very various kinds?
Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God,
that this also might be a sign of men’s being destined to receive repentance
and remission of sins, through the water and laver of regeneration, — as
many as come to the truth, and are born again, and receive blessing from
God. But the monsters of the deep and the birds of prey are a similitude of
covetous men and transgressors. For as the fish and the fowls are of one
nature, — some indeed abide in their natural state, and do no harm to those
weaker than themselves, but keep the law of God, and eat of the seeds of
the earth; others of them, again, transgress the law of God, and eat flesh,
and injure those weaker than themselves: thus, too, the righteous, keeping
the law of God, bite and injure none, but live holily and righteously. But
robbers, and murderers, and godless persons are like monsters of the deep,
and wild beasts, and birds of prey; for they virtually devour those weaker
than themselves. The race, then, of fishes and of creeping things, though
partaking of God’s blessing, received no very distinguishing property.

CHAPTER 17

OF THE SIXTH DAY
And on the sixth day, God having made the quadrupeds, and wild beasts,
and the land reptiles, pronounced no blessing upon them, reserving His
blessing for man, whom He was about to create on the sixth day. The
quadrupeds, too, and wild beasts, were made for a type of some men, who
neither know nor worship God, but mind earthly things, and repent not.
For those who turn from their iniquities and live righteously, in spirit fly
upwards like birds, and mind the things that are above, and are well-
pleasing to the will of God. But those who do not know nor worship God,
are like birds which have wings, but cannot fly nor soar to the high things
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of God. Thus, too, though such persons are called men, yet being pressed
down with sins, they mind groveling and earthly-things. And the animals
are named wild beasts [qhri>a], from their being hunted [qhreu>esqai],
not as if they had been made evil or venomous from the first — for
nothing was made evil by God, but all things good, yea, very good, — but
the sin in which man was concerned brought evil upon them. For when
man transgressed, they also transgressed with him. For as, if the master of
the house himself acts rightly, the domestics also of necessity conduct
themselves well; but if the master sins, the servants also sin with him; so
in like manner it came to pass, that in the case of man’s sin, he being
master, all that was subject to him sinned with him. When, therefore, man
again shall have made his way back to his natural condition, and no longer
does evil, those also shall be restored to their original gentleness.

CHAPTER 18

THE CREATION OF MAN
But as to what relates to the creation of man, his own creation cannot be
explained by man, though it is a succinct account of it which holy
Scripture gives. For when God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after
Our likeness,” He first intimates the dignity of man. For God having made
all things by His Word, and having reckoned them all mere bye-works,
reckons the creation of man to be the only work worthy of His own
hands. Moreover, God is found, as if needing help, to say, “Let Us make
man in Our image, after Our likeness.” But to no one else than to His own
Word and wisdom did He say, “Let Us make.” And when He had made
and blessed him, that he might increase and replenish the earth, He put all
things under his dominion, and at his service; and He appointed from the
first that he should find nutriment from the fruits of the earth, and from
seeds, and herbs, and acorns, having at the same time appointed that the
animals be of habits similar to man’s, that they also might eat of all the
seeds of the earth.
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CHAPTER 19

MAN IS PLACED IN PARADISE
God having thus completed the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and all
that are in them, on the sixth day, rested on the seventh day from all His
works which He made. Then holy Scripture gives a summary in these
words: “This is the book of the generation of the heavens and the earth,
when they were created, in the day that the LORD made the heavens and
the earth, and every green thing of the field, before it was made, and every
herb of the field before it grew. For God had not caused it to rain upon the
earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” By this He signifies to
us, that the whole earth was at that time watered by a divine fountain, and
had no need that man should till it; but the earth produced all things
spontaneously by the command of God, that man might not be wearied by
tilling it. But that the creation of man might be made plain, so that there
should not seem to be an insoluble problem existing among men, since God
had said, “Let Us make man;” and since His creation was not yet plainly
related, Scripture teaches us, saying: “And a fountain went up out of the
earth, and watered the face of the whole earth; and God made man of the
dust of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man
became a living soul.” Whence also by most persons the soul is called
immortal. And after the formation of man, God chose out for him a region
among the places of the East, excellent for light, brilliant with a very bright
atmosphere, [abundant] in the finest plants; and in this He placed man.

CHAPTER 20

THE SCRIPTURAL ACCOUNT OF PARADISE
Scripture thus relates the words of the sacred history: “And God planted
Paradise, eastward, in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had
formed. And out of the ground made God to grow every tree that is
pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of
Paradise, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And a river flows
out of Eden, to water the garden; thence it is parted into four heads. The
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name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of
Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good, and there is
bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon:
the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the third
river is Tigris: this is it which goeth toward Syria. And the fourth river is
Euphrates. And the LORD God took the man whom He had made, and
put him in the garden, to till and to keep it. And God commanded Adam,
saying, Of every tree that is in the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ye shall not eat of it; for in the
day ye eat of it ye shall surely die. And the LORD God said, It is not
good that the man should be alone; let Us make him an helpmeet for him.
And out of the ground God formed all the beasts of the field, and all the
fowls of heaven, and brought them to Adam. And whatsoever Adam called
every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to
all cattle, and to the fowls of the air, and to all the beasts of the field. But
for Adam there was not found an helpmeet for him. And God caused an
ecstasy to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and
closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the LORD God had
taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto Adam. And
Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall
be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man
leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they
two shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, Adam and his wife, and
were not ashamed.

CHAPTER 21

OF THE FALL OF MAN
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the
LORD God had made. And the serpent said to the woman, Why hath God
said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said
unto the serpent, We eat of every tree of the garden, but of the fruit of the
tree which is in the midst of the garden God hath said, Ye shall not eat of
it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the
woman, Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat
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thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing
good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and
that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise;
and having taken of the fruit thereof, she did eat, and gave also unto her
husband with her: and they did eat. And the eyes of them both were
opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves
together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the
LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his
wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the
trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto
him, Where art thou? And he said unto Him, I heard Thy voice in the
garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. And He
said unto him, Who told thee that thou wast naked, unless thou hast eaten
of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And
Adam said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of
the tree, and I did eat. And God said to the woman, What is this that thou
hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this,
thou art accursed above all the beasts of the earth; on thy breast and belly
shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put
enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;
it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. And to the woman
He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy travail: in sorrow shalt
thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he
shall rule over thee. And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened
unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I
commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground in
thy works: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns and
thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread, till thou return unto the
earth; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt
thou return.” Such is the account given by holy Scripture of the history of
man and of Paradise.
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CHAPTER 22

WHY GOD IS SAID TO HAVE WALKED
You will say, then, to me: “You said that God ought not to be contained in
a place, and how do you now say that He walked in Paradise?” Hear what
I say. The God and Father, indeed, of all cannot be contained, and is not
found in a place, for there is no place of His rest; but His Word, through
whom He made all things, being His power and His wisdom, assuming the
person of the Father and Lord of all, went to the garden in the person of
God, and conversed with Adam. For the divine writing itself teaches us
that Adam said that he had heard the voice. But what else is this voice but
the Word of God, who is also His Son? Not as the poets and writers of
myths talk of the sons of gods begotten from intercourse [with women],
but as truth expounds, the Word, that always exists, residing within the
heart of God. For before anything came into being He had Him as a
counselor, being His own mind and thought. But when God wished to
make all that He determined on, He begot this Word, uttered, the first-born
of all creation, not Himself being emptied of the Word [Reason], but
having begotten Reason, and always conversing with His Reason. And
hence the holy writings teach us, and all the spirit-bearing [inspired] men,
one of whom, John, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God,” showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in
Him. Then he says, “The Word was God; all things came into existence
through Him; and apart from Him not one thing came into existence.” The
Word, then, being God, and being naturally produced from God, whenever
the Father of the universe wills, He sends Him to any place; and He,
coming, is both heard and seen, being sent by Him, and is found in a place.

CHAPTER 23

THE TRUTH OF THE ACCOUNT IN GENESIS
Man, therefore, God made on the sixth day, and made known this creation
after the seventh day, when also He made Paradise, that he might be in a
better and distinctly superior place. And that this is true, the fact itself
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proves. For how can one miss seeing that the pains which women suffer in
childbed, and the oblivion of their labors which they afterwards enjoy, are
sent in order that the word of God may be fulfilled, and that the race of
men may increase and multiply? And do we not see also the judgment of
the serpent, — how hatefully he crawls on his belly and eats the dust, —
that we may have this, too, for a proof of the things which were said
aforetime?

CHAPTER 24

THE BEAUTY OF PARADISE,
God, then, caused to spring out of the earth every tree that is beautiful in
appearance, or good for food. For at first there were only those things
which were produced on the third day, — plants, and seeds, and herbs;
but the things which were in Paradise were made of a superior loveliness
and beauty, since in it the plants were said to have been planted by God.
As to the rest of the plants, indeed, the world contained plants like them;
but the two trees, — the tree of life and the tree of knowledge, — the rest
of the earth possessed not, but only Paradise. And that Paradise is earth,
and is planted on the earth, the Scripture states, saying: “And the LORD
God planted Paradise in Eden eastwards, and placed man there; and out of
the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the
sight and good for food.” By the expressions, therefore, “out of the
ground,” and “eastwards,” the holy writing clearly teaches us that Paradise
is under this heaven, under which the east and the earth are. And the
Hebrew word Eden signifies “delight.” And it was signified that a river
flowed out of Eden to water Paradise, and after that divides into four
heads; of which the two called Pison and Gihon water the eastern parts,
especially Gihon, which encompasses the whole land of Ethiopia, and
which, they say, reappears in Egypt under the name of Nile. And the
other two rivers are manifestly recognizable by us — those called Tigris
and Euphrates — for these border on our own regions. And God having
placed man in Paradise, as has been said, to till and keep it, commanded
him to eat of all the trees, — manifestly of the tree of life also; but only of
the tree of knowledge He commanded him not to taste. And God
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transferred him from the earth, out of which he had been produced, into
Paradise, giving him means of advancement, in order that, maturing and
becoming perfect, and being even declared a god, he might thus ascend into
heaven in possession of immortality. For man had been made a middle
nature, neither wholly mortal, nor altogether immortal, but capable of
either; so also the place, Paradise, was made in respect of beauty
intermediate between earth and heaven. And by the expression, “till it,” no
other kind of labor is implied than the observance of God’s command, lest,
disobeying, he should destroy himself, as indeed he did destroy himself,
by sin.

CHAPTER 25

GOD WAS JUSTIFIED IN FORBIDDING MAN
TO EAT OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
The tree of knowledge itself was good, and its fruit was good. For it was
not the tree, as some think, but the disobedience, which had death in it.
For there was nothing else in the fruit than only knowledge;. but
knowledge is good when one uses it discreetly. But Adam, being yet an
infant in age, was on this account as yet unable to receive knowledge
worthily. For now, also, when a child is born it is not at once able to eat
bread, but is nourished first with milk, and then, with the increment of
years, it advances to solid food. Thus, too, would it have been with Adam;
for not as one who grudged him, as some suppose, did God command him
not to eat of knowledge. But He wished also to make proof of him,
whether he was submissive to His commandment. And at the same time
He wished man, infant as he was, to remain for some time longer simple
and sincere. For this is holy, not only with God, but also with men, that in
simplicity and guilelessness subjection be yielded to parents. But if it is
right that children be subject to parents, how much more to the God and
Father of all things? Besides, it is unseemly that children in infancy be
wise beyond their years; for as in stature one increases in an orderly
progress, so also in wisdom. But as when a law has commanded abstinence
from anything, and some one has not obeyed, it is obviously not the law
which causes punishment, but the disobedience and transgression; — for a
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father sometimes enjoins on his own child abstinence from certain things,
and when he does not obey the paternal order, he is flogged and punished
on account of the disobedience; and in this case the actions themselves are
not the [cause of] stripes, but the disobedience procures punishment for
him who disobeys; — so also for the first man, disobedience procured his
expulsion from Paradise. Not, therefore, as if there were any evil in the
tree of knowledge; but from his disobedience did man draw, as from a
fountain, labor, pain, grief, and at last fall a prey to death.

CHAPTER 26

GOD’S GOODNESS IN EXPELLING MAN FROM PARADISE
And God showed great kindness to man in this, that He did not suffer him
to remain in sin for ever; but, as it were, by a kind of banishment, cast him
out of Paradise, in order that, having by punishment expiated, within an
appointed time, the sin, and having been disciplined, he should afterwards
be restored. Wherefore also, when man had been formed in this world, it is
mystically written in Genesis, as if he had been twice placed in Paradise;
so that the one was fulfilled when he was placed there, and the second will
be fulfilled after the resurrection and judgment. For just as a vessel, when
on being fashioned it has some flaw, is remolded or remade, that it may
become new and entire; so also it happens to man by death. For somehow
or other he is broken up, that he may rise in the resurrection whole; I mean
spotless, and righteous, and immortal. And as to God’s calling, and saying,
Where art thou, Adam? God did this, not as if ignorant of this; but, being
long-suffering, He gave him an opportunity of repentance and confession.

CHAPTER 27

THE NATURE OF MAN
But some one will say to us, Was man made by nature mortal? Certainly
not. Was he, then, immortal? Neither do we affirm this. But one will say,
Was he, then, nothing? Not even this hits the mark. He was by nature
neither mortal nor immortal. For if He had made him immortal from the
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beginning, He would have made him God. Again, if He had made him
mortal, God would seem to be the cause of his death. Neither, then,
immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above,
capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality,
keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him
immortality, and should become God; but if, on the other hand, he should
turn to the things of death, disobeying God, he should himself be the cause
of death to himself. For God made man free, and with power over himself.
That, then, which man brought upon himself through carelessness and
disobedience, this God now vouchsafes to him as a gift through His own
philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him. For as man, disobeying,
drew death upon himself; so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is
able to procure for himself life everlasting. For God has given us a law and
holy commandments; and every one who keeps these can be saved, and,
obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption.

CHAPTER 28

WHY EVE WAS FORMED OF ADAM’S RIB
And Adam having been cast out of Paradise, in this condition knew Eve
his wife, whom God had formed into a wife for him out of his rib. And
this He did, not as if He were unable to make his wife separately, but God
foreknew that man would call upon a number of gods. And having this
prescience, and knowing that through the serpent error would introduce a
number of gods which had no existence, — for there being but one God,
even then error was striving to disseminate a multitude of gods, saying,
“Ye shall be as gods;” — lest, then, it should be supposed that one God
made the man and another the woman, therefore He made them both; and
God made the woman together with the man, not only that thus the
mystery of God’s sole government might be exhibited, but also that their
mutual affection might be greater. Therefore said Adam to Eve, “This is
now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” And besides, he
prophesied, saying, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his
mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they two shall be one flesh;”
which also itself has its fulfillment in ourselves. For who that marries
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lawfully does not despise mother and father, and his whole family
connection, and all his household, cleaving to and becoming one with his
own wife, fondly preferring her? So that often, for the sake of their wives,
some submit even to death. This Eve, on account of her having been in the
beginning deceived by the serpent, and become the author of sin, the
wicked demon, who also is called Satan, who then spoke to her through
the serpent, and who works even to this day in those men that are
possessed by him, invokes as Eve. And he is called “demon” and
“dragon,” on account of his [ajpodedrake>nai] revolting from God. For at
first he was an angel. And concerning his history there is a great deal to be
said; wherefore I at present omit the relation of it, for I have also given an
account of him in another place.

CHAPTER 29

CAIN’S CRIME
When, then, Adam knew Eve his wife, she conceived and bare a son,
whose name was Cain; and she said, “I have gotten a man from God.” And
yet again she bare a second son, whose name was Abel, “who began to be
a keeper of sheep, but Cain tilled the ground.” Their history receives a
very full narration, yea, even a detailed explanation: wherefore the book
itself, which is entitled “The Genesis of the World,” can more accurately
inform those who are anxious to learn their story. When, then, Satan saw
Adam and his wife not only still living, but also begetting children — being
carried away with spite because he had not succeeded in putting them to
death, — when he saw that Abel was well-pleasing to God, he wrought
upon the heart of his brother called Cain, and caused him to kill his brother
Abel. And thus did death get a beginning in this world, to find its way into
every race of man, even to this day. But God, being pitiful, and wishing to
afford to Cain, as to Adam, an opportunity of repentance and confession,
said, “Where is Abel thy brother?” But Cain answered God
contumaciously, saying, “I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?” God,
being thus made angry with him, said, “What hast thou done? The voice of
thy brother’s blood crieth to me from the earth, which opened her mouth
to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. Groaning and trembling shalt
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thou be on the earth.” From that time the earth, through fear, no longer
receives human blood, no, nor the blood of any animal; by which it
appears that it is not the cause [of death], but man, who transgressed.

CHAPTER 30

CAIN’S FAMILY AND THEIR INVENTIONS
Cain also himself had a son, whose name was Enoch; and he built a city,
which he called by the name of his son, Enoch. From that time was there
made a beginning of the building of cities, and this before the flood; not as
Homer falsely says: —
“Not yet had men a city built.”

And to Enoch was born a son, by name Gaidad; who begat a son called
Meel; and Meel begat Mathusala; and Mathusala, Lamech. And Lamech
took unto him two wives, whose names were Adah and Zillah. At that
time there was made a beginning of polygamy, and also of music. For
Lamech had three sons: Jabal, Jubal, Tubal. And Jabal became a keeper of
cattle, and dwelt in tents; but Jubal is he who made known the psaltery
and the harp; and Tubal became a smith, a forger in brass and iron. So far
the seed of Cain is registered; and for the rest, the seed of his line has sunk
into oblivion, on account of his fratricide of his brother. And, in place of
Abel, God granted to Eve to conceive and bear a son, who was called Seth
from whom the remainder of the human race proceeds until now. And to
those who desire to be informed regarding all generations, it is easy to give
explanations by means of the holy Scriptures. For, as we have already
mentioned, this subject, the order of the genealogy of man, has been partly
handled by us in another discourse, in the first book of The History. And
all these things the Holy Spirit teaches us, who speaks through Moses and
the rest of the prophets, so that the writings which belong to us godly
people are more ancient, yea, and are shown to be more truthful, than all
writers and poets. But also, concerning music, some have fabled that
Apollo was the inventor, and others say that Orpheus discovered the art
of music from the sweet voices of the birds. Their story is shown to be
empty and vain, for these inventors lived many years after the flood. And
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what relates to Noah, who is called by some Deucalion, has been explained
by us in the book before mentioned, and which, if you wish it, you are at
liberty to read.

CHAPTER 31

THE HISTORY AFTER THE FLOOD
After the flood was there again a beginning of cities and kings, in the
following manner: — The first city was Babylon, and Erech, and Accad,
and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. And their king was called Nebroth
[Nimrod]. From these came Asshur, from whom also the Assyrians
receive their name. And Nimrod built the cities Nineveh and Rehoboth,
and Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and Calah; and Nineveh became a
very great city. And another son of Shem, the son of Noah, by name
Mizraim, begat Ludim, and those called Anamim, and Lehabim, and
Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, out of whom came Philistin. Of
the three sons of Noah, however, and of their death and genealogy, we
have given a compendious register in the above-mentioned book. But now
we will mention the remaining facts both concerning cities and kings, and
the things that happened when there was one speech and one language.
Before the dividing of the languages these fore-mentioned cities existed.
But when men were about to be dispersed, they took counsel of their own
judgment. and not at the instigation of God, to build a city, a tower whose
top might reach into heaven, that they might make a glorious name to
themselves. Since, therefore, they had dared, contrary to the will of God,
to attempt a grand work, God destroyed their city, and overthrew their
tower. From that time He confounded the languages of men, giving to each
a different dialect. And similarly did the Sibyl speak, when she declared
that wrath would come on the world. She says: —
“When are fulfilled the threats of the great God,
With which He threatened men, when formerly
In the Assyrian land they built a tower,
And all were of one speech, and wished to rise
Even till they climbed unto the starry heaven,
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Then the Immortal raised a mighty wind
And laid upon them strong necessity;
For when the wind threw down the mighty tower,
Then rose among mankind fierce strife and hate.
One speech was changed to many dialects,
And earth was filled with divers tribes and kings.”

And so on. These things, then, happened in the land of the Chaldaeans.
And in the land of Canaan there was a city, by name Haran. And in these
days, Pharaoh, who by the Egyptians was also called Nechaoth, was first
king of Egypt, and thus the kings followed in succession. And in the land
of Shinar, among those called Chaldaeans, the first king was Arioch, and
next after him Ellasar, and after him Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and after
him Tidal, king of the nations called Assyrians. And there were five other
cities in the territory of Ham, the son of Noah; the first called Sodom, then
Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Balah, which was also called Zoar. And
the names of their kings are these: Bera, king of Sodom; Birsha, king of
Gomorrah; Shinab, king of Admah; Shemeber, king of Zeboiim; Bela, king
of Zoar, which is also called Kephalac. These served Chedorlaomer, the
king of the Assyrians, for twelve years, and in the thirteenth year they
revolted from Chedorlaomer; and thus it came to pass at that time that the
four Assyrian kings waged war upon the five kings. This was the first
commencement of making war on the earth; and they destroyed the giants
Karnaim, and the strong nations that were with them in their city, and the
Horites of the mountains called Seir, as far as the plain of Paran, which is
by the wilderness. And at that time there was a righteous king called
Melchisedek, in the city of Salem, which now is Jerusalem. This was the
first priest of all priests of the Most High God; and from him the above-
named city Hierosolyma was called Jerusalem. And from his time priests
were found in all the earth. And after him reigned Abimelech in Gerar; and
after him another Abimelech. Then reigned Ephron, surnamed the Hittite.
Such are the names of the kings that were in former times. And the rest of
the kings of the Assyrians, during an interval of many years, have been
passed over in silence unrecorded, all writers narrating the events of our
recent days. There were these kings of Assyria: Tiglath-Pileser, and after
him Shalmaneser, then Sennacherib; and Adrammelech the Ethiopian, who
also reigned over Egypt, was his triarch; — though these things, in
comparison with our books, are quite recent.
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CHAPTER 32

HOW THE HUMAN RACE WAS DISPERSED
Hence, therefore, may the lover of learning and of antiquity understand the
history, and see that those things are recent which are told by us apart
from the holy prophets. For though at first there were few men in the land
of Arabia and Chaldaea, yet, after their languages were divided, they
gradually began to multiply and spread over all the earth; and some of
them tended towards the east to dwell there, and others to the parts of the
great continent, and others northwards, so as to extend as far as Britain, in
the Arctic regions. And others went to the land of Canaan, which is called
Judaea, and Phoenicia, and the region of Ethiopia, and Egypt, and Libya,
and the country called torrid, and the parts stretching towards the west;
and the rest went to places by the sea, and Pamphylia, and Asia, and
Greece, and Macedonia, and, besides, to Italy, and the whole country
called Gaul, and Spain, and Germany; so that now the whole world is thus
filled with inhabitants. Since then the occupation of the world by men was
at first in three divisions, — in the east, and south, and west: afterwards,
the remaining parts of the earth were inhabited, when men became very
numerous. And the writers, not knowing these things, are forward to
maintain that the world is shaped like a sphere, and to compare it to a
cube. But how can they say what is true regarding these things, when they
do not know about the creation of the world and its population? Men
gradually increasing in number and multiplying on the earth, as we have
already said, the islands also of the sea and the rest of the countries were
inhabited.

CHAPTER 33

PROFANE HISTORY GIVES
NO ACCOUNT OF THESE MATTERS
Who, then, of those called sages, and poets, and historians, could tell us
truly of these things, themselves being much later born, and introducing a
multitude of gods, who were born so many years after the cities, and are
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more modern than kings, and nations, and wars? For they should have
made mention of all events, even those which happened before the flood;
both of the creation of the world and the formation of man, and the whole
succession of events. The Egyptian or Chaldaean prophets, and the other
writers, should have been able accurately to tell, if at least they spoke by a
divine and pure spirit, and spoke truth in all that was uttered by them; and
they should have announced not only things past or present, but also
those that were to come upon the world. And therefore it is proved that all
others have been in error; and that we Christians alone have possessed the
truth, inasmuch as we are taught by the Holy Spirit, who spoke in the
holy prophets, and foretold all things.

CHAPTER 34

THE PROPHETS ENJOINED HOLINESS OF LIFE
And, for the rest, would that in a kindly spirit you would investigate
divine things — I mean the things that are spoken by the prophets — in
order that, by comparing what is said by us with the utterances of the
others, you may be able to discover the truth. We have shown from their
own histories, which they have compiled, that the names of those who are
called gods, are found to be the names of men who lived among them, as
we have shown above. And to this day their images are daily fashioned,
idols, “the works of men’s hands.” And these the mass of foolish men
serve, whilst they reject the maker and fashioner of all things and the
nourisher of all breath of life, giving credit to vain doctrines through the
deceitfulness of the senseless tradition received from their fathers. But
God at least, the Father and Creator of the universe did not abandon
mankind, but gave a law, and sent holy prophets to declare and teach the
race of men, that each one of us might awake and understand that there is
one God. And they also taught us to refrain from unlawful idolatry, and
adultery, and murder, fornication, theft, avarice, false swearing, wrath, and
every incontinence and uncleanness; and that whatever a man would not
wish to be done to himself, he should not do to another; and thus he who
acts righteously shall escape the eternal punishments, and be thought
worthy of the eternal life from God.
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CHAPTER 35

PRECEPTS FROM THE PROPHETIC BOOKS
The divine law, then, not only forbids the worshipping of idols, but also
of the heavenly bodies, the sun, the moon, or the other stars; yea, not
heaven, nor earth, nor the sea, nor fountains, nor rivers, must be
worshipped, but we must serve in holiness of heart and sincerity of
purpose only the living and true God, who also is Maker of the universe.
Wherefore saith the holy law: “Thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt
not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not desire thy
neighbor’s wife.” So also the prophets. Solomon indeed teaches us that we
must not sin with so much as a turn of the eye, saying, “Let thine eyes
look right on, and let thy eyelids look straight before thee.” And Moses,
who himself also was a prophet, says, concerning the sole government of
God: “Your God is He who establishes the heaven, and forms the earth,
whose hands have brought forth all the host of heaven; and has not set
these things before you that you should go after them.” And Isaiah himself
also says: “Thus saith the LORD God who established the heavens, and
founded the earth and all that is therein, and giveth breath unto the people
upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein. This is the LORD your
God.” And again, through him He says: “I have made the earth, and man
upon it. I by my hand have established the heavens.” And in another
chapter, “This is your God, who created the ends of the earth; He
hungereth not, neither is weary, and there is no searching of His
understanding.” So, too, Jeremiah says: “Who hath made the earth by His
power, and established the world by His wisdom, and by His discretion
hath stretched out the heavens, and a mass of water in the heavens, and He
caused the clouds to ascend from the ends of the earth; He made lightnings
with rain, and brought forth winds out of His treasures.” One can see how
consistently and harmoniously all the prophets spoke, having given
utterance through one and the same spirit concerning the unity of God, and
the creation of the world, and the formation of man. Moreover, they were
in sore travail, bewailing the godless race of men, and they reproached
those, who seemed to be wise, for their error and hardness of heart.
Jeremiah, indeed, said: “Every man is brutishly gone astray from the
knowledge of Him; every founder is confounded by his graven images; in
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vain the silversmith makes his molten images; there is no breath in them: in
the day of their visitation they shall perish.” The same, too, says David:
“They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; there is none that
doeth good, no, not one; they have all gone aside, they have together
become profitless.” So also Habakkuk: “What profiteth the graven image
that he has graven it a lying image? Woe to him that saith to the stone,
Awake; and to the wood, Arise.” Likewise spoke the other prophets of
the truth. And why should I recount the multitude of prophets, who are
numerous, and said ten thousand things consistently and harmoniously?
For those who desire it, can, by reading what they uttered, accurately
understand the truth, and no longer be carried away by opinion and
profitless labor. These, then, whom we have already mentioned, were
prophets among the Hebrews, — illiterate, and shepherds, and
uneducated.

CHAPTER 36

PROPHECIES OF THE SIBYL
And the Sibyl, who was a prophetess among the Greeks and the other
nations, in the beginning of her prophecy, reproaches the race of men,
saying: —
“How are ye still so quickly lifted up,
And how so thoughtless of the end of life,
Ye mortal men of flesh, who are but nought?
Do ye not tremble, nor fear God most high?
Your Overseer, the Knower, Seer of all,
Who ever keeps those whom His hand first made,
Puts His sweet Spirit into all His works,
And gives Him for a guide to mortal men.
There is one only uncreated God,
Who reigns alone, all-powerful very great,
From whom is nothing hid. He sees all things,
Himself unseen by any mortal eye.
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Can mortal man see the immortal God,
Or fleshly eyes, which Shun the noontide beams,
Look upon Him who dwells beyond the heavens?
Worship Him then, the self-existent God,
The unbegotten Ruler of the world,
Who only was from everlasting time,
And shall to everlasting still abide.
Of evil counsels ye shall reap the fruit,
Because ye have not honored the true God,
Nor offered to Him sacred hecatombs.
To those who dwell in Hades ye make gifts,
And unto demons offer sacrifice.
In madness and in pride ye have your walk;
And leaving the right way, ye wander wide,
And lose yourselves in pitfalls and in thorns.
Why do ye wander thus, O foolish men?
Cease your vain wanderings in the black, dark night;
Why follow darkness and perpetual gloom
When, see, there shines for you the blessed light?
Lo, He is clear — in Him there is no spot.
Turn, then, from darkness, and behold the day;
Be wise, and treasure wisdom in your breasts.
There is one God who sends the winds and rains,
The earthquakes, and the lightnings, and the plagues,
The famines, and the snow-storms, and the ice,
And all the woes that visit our sad race.
Nor these alone, but all things else He gives,
Ruling omnipotent in heaven and earth,
And self-existent from eternity.”

And regarding those [gods] that are said to have been born, she said:
“If all things that are born must also die,
God cannot be produced by mortal man.
But there is only One, the All-Supreme,
Who made the heavens, with all their starry host,
The sun and moon; likewise the fruitful earth,
With all the waves of ocean, and the hills,
The fountains, and the ever flowing streams;
He also made the countless multitude
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Of ocean creatures, and He keeps alive
All creeping things, both of the earth and sea;
And all the tuneful choir of birds He made,
Which cleave the air with wings, and with shrill pipe
Trill forth at morn their tender, clear-voiced song.
Within the deep glades of the hills He placed
A savage race of beasts; and unto men
He made all cattle subject, making man
The God-formed image, ruler over all,
And putting in subjection to his sway
Things many and incomprehensible.
For who of mortals can know all these things?
He only knows who made them at the first,
He the Creator, incorruptible,
Who dwells in upper air eternally;
Who proffers to the good most rich rewards,
And against evil and unrighteous men
Rouses revenge, and wrath, and bloody wars,
And pestilence, and many a tearful grief.
O man exalted vainly — say why thus
Hast thou so utterly destroyed thyself?
Have ye no shame worshipping beasts for gods?
And to believe the gods should steal your beasts,
Or that they need your vessels — is it not

Frenzy’s most profitless and foolish thought?
Instead of dwelling in the golden heavens,
Ye see your gods become the prey of worms,
And hosts of creatures noisome and unclean.
O fools! ye worship serpents, dogs, and cats,
Birds, and the creeping things of earth and sea,
Images made with hands, statues of stone,
And heaps of rubbish by the wayside placed.
All these, and many more vain things, ye serve,
Worshipping things disgraceful even to name:
These are the gods who lead vain men astray,
From whose mouth streams of deadly poison flow.
But unto Him in whom alone is life,
Life, and undying, everlasting light;
Who pours into man’s cup of life a
Sweeter than sweetest honey to his taste, —
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Unto Him bow the head, to Him alone,
And walk in ways of everlasting peace.
Forsaking Him, ye all have turned aside,
And, in your raving folly, drained the cup
Of justice quite unmixed, pure, mastering, strong;
And ye will not again be sober men,
Ye will not come unto a sober mind,
And know your God and King, who looks on all:
Therefore, upon you burning fire shall come,
And ever ye shall daily burn in flames,
Ashamed for ever of your useless gods.
But those who worship the eternal God,
They shall inherit everlasting life,
Inhabiting the blooming realms of bliss,
And feasting on sweet food from starry heaven.”

That these things are true, and useful, and just, and profitable to all men, is
obvious. Even the poets have spoken of the punishments of the wicked.

CHAPTER 37

THE TESTIMONIES OF THE POETS
And that evil-doers must necessarily be punished in proportion to their
deeds, has already been, as it were, oracularly uttered by some of the
poets, as a witness both against themselves and against the wicked,
declaring that they shall be punished. Aeschylus said: —
“He who has done must also suffer.”

And Pindar himself said: —
“It is fit that suffering follow doing.”

So, too, Euripides: —
“The deed rejoiced you — suffering endure;
The taken enemy must needs be pain’d.”

And again: —
“The foe’s pain is the hero’s meed.”

And, similarly, Archilochus: —
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“One thing I know, I hold it ever true,
The evil-doer evil shall endure.”

And that God sees all, and that nothing escapes His notice, but that, being
long-suffering, He refrains until the time when He is to judge concerning
this, too, Dionysius said: —
“The eye of Justice seeing all,
Yet seemeth not to see.”

And that God’s judgment is to be, and that evils will suddenly overtake
the wicked, — this, too, Aeschylus declared, saying: —
“Swift-footed is the approach of fate,
And none can justice violate,
But feels its stern hand soon or late.
“‘Tis with you, though unheard, unseen;
You draw night’s curtain in between,
But even sleep affords no screen.
“‘Tis with you if you sleep or wake;
And if abroad your way you take,
Its still, stern watch you cannot break.
“‘Twill follow you, or cross your path;
And even night no virtue hath
To hide you from th’ Avenger’s wrath.
“To show the ill the darkness flees;
Then, if sin offers joy or ease,
Oh stop, and think that some one sees!”

And may we not cite Simonides also? —
“To men no evil comes unheralded;
But God with sudden hand transforms all things.”

Euripides again: —
“The wicked and proud man’s prosperity
Is based on sand: his race abideth not;
And time proclaims the wickedness of men.”

Once more Euripides: —
“Not without judgment is the Deity,
But sees when oaths are struck unrighteously,
And when from men unwilling they are wrung.”
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And Sophocles: —
“If ills you do, ills also you must bear.”

That God will make inquiry both concerning false swearing and concerning
every other wickedness, they themselves have well-nigh predicted. And
concerning the conflagration of the world, they have, willingly or
unwillingly, spoken in Conformity with the prophets, though they were
much more recent, and stole these things from the law and the prophets.
The poets corroborate the testimony of the prophets.

CHAPTER 38

THE TEACHINGS OF THE GREEK POETS AND PHILOSOPHERS
CONFIRMATORY OF THOSE OF THE HEBREW PROPHETS
But what matters it whether they were before or after them? Certainly
they did at all events utter things confirmatory of the prophets.
Concerning the burning up of the world, Malachi the prophet foretold:
“The day of the Lord cometh as a burning oven, and shall consume all the
wicked.” And Isaiah: “For the wrath of God is as a violent hail-storm, and
as a rushing mountain torrent.” The Sibyl, then, and the other prophets,
yea, and the poets and philosophers, have clearly taught both concerning
righteousness, and judgment, and punishment; and also concerning
providence, that God cares for us, not only for the living among us, but
also for those that are dead: though, indeed, they said this unwillingly, for
they were convinced by the truth. And among the prophets indeed,
Solomon said of the dead, “There shall be healing to thy flesh, and care
taken of thy bones.” And the same says David, “The hones which Thou
hast broken shall rejoice.” And in agreement with these sayings was that of
Timocles: —
“The dead are pitied by the loving God.”

And the writers who spoke of a multiplicity of gods came at length to the
doctrine of the unity of God, and those who asserted chance spoke also of
providence; and the advocates of impunity confessed there would be a
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judgment, and those who denied that there is a sensation after death
acknowledged that there is. Homer, accordingly, though he had said, —
“Like fleeting vision passed the soul away,”

says in another place: —
“To Hades went the disembodied soul;”

And again: —
“That I may quickly pass through Hades’ gates,
Me bury.”

And as regards the others whom you have read, I think you know with
sufficient accuracy how they have expressed themselves. But all these
things will every one understand who seeks the wisdom of God, and is
well pleasing to Him through faith and righteousness and the doing of good
works. For one of the prophets whom we already mentioned, Hosea by
name, said, “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent,
and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just
shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” He, then, who
is desirous of learning, should learn much. Endeavor therefore to meet
[with me] more frequently, that, by hearing the living voice, you may
accurately ascertain the truth.
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BOOK 3
CHAPTER 1

AUTOLYCUS NOT YET CONVINCED
T HEOPHILUS to Autolycus, greeting: Seeing that writers are fond of
composing a multitude of books for vainglory, — some concerning gods,
and wars, and chronology, and some, too, concerning useless legends, and
other such labor in vain, in which you also have been used to employ
yourself until now, and do not grudge to endure that toil; but though you
conversed with me, are still of opinion that the word of truth is an idle
tale, and suppose that our writings are recent and modern; — on this
account I also will not grudge the labor of compendiously setting forth to
you, God helping me, the antiquity of our books, reminding you of it in
few words, that you may not grudge the labor of reading it, but may
recognize the folly of the other authors.

CHAPTER 2

PROFANE AUTHORS HAD NO MEANS
OF KNOWING THE TRUTH
For it was fit that they who wrote should themselves have been eye-
witnesses of those things concerning which they made assertions, or
should accurately have ascertained them from those who had seen them;
for they who write of things unascertained beat the air. For what did it
profit Homer to have composed the Trojan war, and to have deceived
many; or Hesiod, the register of the theogony of those whom he calls gods;
or Orpheus, the three hundred and sixty-five gods, whom in the end of his
life he rejects, maintaining in his precepts that there is one God? What
profit did the sphaerography of the world’s circle confer on Aratus, or
those who held the same doctrine as he, except glory among men? And not
even that did they reap as they deserved. And what truth did they utter?
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Or what good did their tragedies do to Euripides and Sophocles, or the
other tragedians? Or their comedies to Menander and Aristophanes, and
the other comedians? Or their histories to Herodotus and Thucydides? Or
the shrines and the pillars of Hercules to Pythagoras, or the Cynic
philosophy to Diogenes? What good did it do Epicurus to maintain that
there is no providence; or Empedocles to teach atheism; or Socrates to
swear by the dog, and the goose, and the plane-tree, and Aesculapius
struck by lightning, and the demons whom he invoked? And why did he
willingly die? What reward, or of what kind, did he expect to receive after
death? What did Plato’s system of culture profit him? Or what benefit did
the rest of the philosophers derive from their doctrines, not to enumerate
the whole of them, since they are numerous? But these things we say, for
the purpose of exhibiting their useless and godless opinions.

CHAPTER 3

THEIR CONTRADICTIONS
For all these, having fallen in love with vain and empty reputation, neither
themselves knew the truth, nor guided others to the truth: for the things
which they said themselves convict them of speaking inconsistently; and
most of them demolished their own doctrines. For not only did they refute
one another, but some, too, even stultified their own teachings; so that
their reputation has issued in shame and folly, for they are condemned by
men of understanding. For either they made assertions concerning the
gods, and afterwards taught that there was no God; or if they spoke even
of the creation of the world, they finally said that all things were produced
spontaneously. Yea, and even speaking of providence, they taught again
that the world was not ruled by providence. But what? Did they not,
when they essayed to write even of honorable conduct, teach the
perpetration of lasciviousness, and fornication, and adultery; and did they
not introduce hateful and unutterable wickedness? And they proclaim that
their gods took the lead in committing unutterable acts of adultery, and in
monstrous banquets. For who does not sing Saturn devouring his own
children, and Jove his son gulping down Metis, and preparing for the gods
a horrible feast, at which also they say that Vulcan, a lame blacksmith, did
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the waiting; and how Jove not only married Juno, his own sister, but also
with foul mouth did abominable wickedness? And the rest of his deeds, as
many as the poets sing, it is likely you are acquainted with. Why need I
further recount the deeds of Neptune and Apollo, or Bacchus and
Hercules, of the bosom-loving Minerva, and the shameless Venus, since in
another place we have given a more accurate account of these?

CHAPTER 4

HOW AUTOLYCUS HAD BEEN MISLED BY FALSE
ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS
Nor indeed was there any necessity for my refuting these, except that I see
you still in dubiety about the word of the truth. For though yourself
prudent, you endure fools gladly. Otherwise you would not have been
moved by senseless men to yield yourself to empty words, and to give
credit to the prevalent rumor wherewith godless lips falsely accuse us,
who are worshippers of God, and are called Christians, alleging that the
wives of us all are held in common and made promiscuous use of; and that
we even commit incest with our own sisters, and, what is most impious
and barbarous of all, that we eat human flesh. But further, they say that
our doctrine has but recently come to light, and that we have nothing to
allege in proof of what we receive as truth, nor of our teaching, but that
our doctrine is foolishness. I wonder, then, chiefly that you, who in other
matters are studious, and a scrutinizer of all things, give but a careless
hearing to us. For, if it were possible for you, you would not grudge to
spend the night in the libraries

CHAPTER 5

PHILOSOPHERS INCULCATE CANNIBALISM
Since, then, you have read much, what is your opinion of the precepts of
Zeno, and Diogenes, and Cleanthes, which their books contain, inculcating
the eating of human flesh: that fathers be cooked and eaten by their own
children; and that if any one refuse or reject a part of this infamous food,
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he himself be devoured who will not eat? An utterance even more godless
than these is found, — that, namely, of Diogenes, who teaches children to
bring their own parents in sacrifice, and devour them. And does not the
historian Herodotus narrate that Cambyses, when he had slaughtered the
children of Harpagus, cooked them also, and set them as a meal before
their father? And, still further, he narrates that among the Indians the
parents are eaten by their own children. Oh! the godless teaching of those
who recorded, yea, rather, inculcated such things! Oh! their wickedness
and godlessness! Oh! the conception of those who thus accurately
philosophized, and profess philosophy! For they who taught these
doctrines have filled the world with iniquity.

CHAPTER 6

OTHER OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS
And regarding lawless conduct, those who have blindly wandered into the
choir of philosophy have, almost to a man, spoken with one voice.
Certainly Plato, to mention him first who seems to have been the most
respectable philosopher among them, expressly, as it were, legislates in his
first book, entitled The Republic, that the wives of all be common, using
the precedent of the son of Jupiter and the lawgiver of the Cretans, in
order that under this pretext there might be an abundant offspring from the
best persons, and that those who were worn with toil might be comforted
by such intercourse. And Epicurus himself, too, as well as teaching
atheism, teaches along with it incest with mothers and sisters, and this in
transgression of the laws which forbid it; for Solon distinctly legislated
regarding this, in order that from a married parent children might lawfully
spring, that they might not be born of adultery, so that no one should
honor as his father him who was not his father, or dishonor him who was
really his father, through ignorance that he was so. And these things the
other laws of the Romans and Greeks also prohibit. Why, then, do
Epicurus and the Stoics teach incest and sodomy, with which doctrines
they have filled libraries, so that from boyhood this lawless intercourse is
learned? And why should I further spend time on them, since even of
those they call gods they relate similar things?
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CHAPTER 7

VARYING DOCTRINE CONCERNING THE GODS
For after they had said that these are gods, they again made them of no
account. For some said that they were composed of atoms; and others,
again, that they eventuate in atoms; and they say that the gods have no
more power than men. Plato, too, though he says these are gods, would
have them composed of matter. And Pythagoras, after he had made such a
toil and moil about the gods, and traveled up and down [for information],
at last determines that all things are produced naturally and
spontaneously, and that the gods care nothing for men. And how many
atheistic opinions Clitomachus the academician introduced, [I need not
recount.] And did not Critias and Protagoras of Abdera say, “For whether
the gods exist, I am not able to affirm concerning them, nor to explain of
what nature they are; for there are many things would prevent me”? And
to speak of the opinions of the most atheistical, Euhemerus, is
superfluous, For having made many daring assertions concerning the gods,
he at last would absolutely deny their existence, and have all things to be
governed by self-regulated action. And Plato, who spoke so much of the
unity of God and of the soul of man, asserting that the soul is immortal, is
not he himself afterwards found, inconsistently with himself, to maintain
that some souls pass into other men, and that others take their departure
into irrational animals? How can his doctrine fail to seem dreadful and
monstrous — to those at least who have any judgment — that he who was
once a man shall afterwards be a wolf, or a dog, or an ass, or some other
irrational brute? Pythagoras, too, is found venting similar nonsense,
besides his demolishing providence. Which of them, then, shall we believe?
Philemon, the comic poet, who says, —
“Good hope have they who praise and serve the gods;”

or those whom we have mentioned — Euhemerus, and Epicurus, and
Pythagoras, and the others who deny that the gods are to be worshipped,
and who abolish providence? Concerning God and providence, Ariston
said: —
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“Be of good courage: God will still preserve
And greatly help all those who so deserve.
If no promotion waits on faithful men,
Say what advantage goodness offers then.
‘Tis granted — yet I often see the just
Faring but ill, from ev’ry honor thrust;
While they whose own advancement is their aim,
Oft in this present life have all they claim.
But we must look beyond, and wait the end,
That consummation to which all things tend.
‘Tis not, as vain and wicked men have said,
By an unbridled destiny we’re led:
It is not blinded chance that rules the world,
Nor uncontrolled are all things onward hurled.
The wicked blinds himself with this belief;
But be ye sure, of all rewards, the chief
Is still reserved for those who holy live;
And Providence to wicked men will give
Only the just reward which is their meed,
And fitting punishment for each bad deed.”

And one can see how inconsistent with each other are the things which
others, and indeed almost the majority, have said about God and
providence. For some have absolutely canceled God and providence; and
others, again, have affirmed God, and have avowed that all things are
governed by providence. The intelligent hearer and reader must therefore
give minute attention to their expressions; as also Simylus said: “It is the
custom of the poets to name by a common designation the surpassingly
wicked and the excellent; we therefore must discriminate.” As also
Philemon says: “A senseless man who sits and merely hears is a
troublesome feature; for he does not blame himself, so foolish is he.” We
must then give attention, and consider what is said, critically inquiring into
what has been uttered by the philosophers and the poets.
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CHAPTER 8

WICKEDNESS ATTRIBUTED TO THE GODS
BY HEATHEN WRITERS
For, denying that there are gods, they again acknowledge their existence,
and they said they committed grossly wicked deeds. And, first, of Jove
the poets euphoniously sing the wicked actions. And Chrysippus, who
talked a deal of nonsense, is he not found publishing that Juno had the
foulest intercourse with Jupiter? For why should I recount the impurities
of the so-called mother of the gods, or of Jupiter Latiaris thirsting for
human blood, or the castrated Attis; or of Jupiter, surnamed Tragedian,
and how he defiled himself, as they say, and now is worshipped among
the Romans as a god? I am silent about the temples of Antinous, and of
the others whom you call gods. For when related to sensible persons, they
excite laughter. They who elaborated such a philosophy regarding either
the non-existence of God, or promiscuous intercourse and beastly
concubinage, are themselves condemned by their own teachings.
Moreover, we find from the writings they composed that the eating of
human flesh was received among them; and they record that those whom
they honor as gods were the first to do these things.

CHAPTER 9

CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF GOD AND HIS LAW
Now we also confess that God exists, but that He is one, the creator, and
maker, and fashioner of this universe; and we know that all things are
arranged by His providence, but by Him alone. And we have learned a
holy law; but we have as lawgiver Him who is really God, who teaches us
to act righteously, and to be pious, and to do good. And concerning piety
He says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make
unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the
earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I am
the LORD thy God.” And of doing good He said: “Honor thy father and
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thy mother; that it may be well with thee, and that thy days may be long
in the land which I the LORD God give thee.” Again, concerning
righteousness: “Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill. Thou
shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor’s house, nor his land, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant,
nor his ox, nor his beast of burden, nor any of his cattle, nor anything that
is thy neighbor’s. Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of the poor in his
cause. From every unjust matter keep thee far. The innocent and righteous
thou shalt not slay; thou shalt not justify the wicked; and thou shalt not
take a gift, for gifts blind the eyes of them that see and pervert righteous
words.” Of this divine law, then, Moses, who also was God’s servant,
was made the minister both to all the world, and chiefly to the Hebrews,
who were also called Jews, whom an Egyptian king had in ancient days
enslaved, and who were the righteous seed of godly and holy men —
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. God, being mindful of them, and doing
marvelous and strange miracles by the hand of Moses, delivered them, and
led them out of Egypt, leading them through what is called the desert;
whom He also settled again in the land of Canaan, which afterwards was
called Judaea, and gave them a law, and taught them these things. Of this
great and wonderful law, which tends to all righteousness, the ten heads
are such as we have already rehearsed.

CHAPTER 10

OF HUMANITY TO STRANGERS
Since therefore they were strangers in the land of Egypt, being by birth
Hebrews from the land of Chaldaea, — for at that time, there being a
famine, they were obliged to migrate to Egypt for the sake of buying food
there, where also for a time they sojourned; and these things befell them in
accordance with a prediction of God, — having sojourned, then, in Egypt
for 430 years, when Moses was about to lead them out into the desert,
God taught them by the law, saying, “Ye shall not afflict a stranger; for ye
know the heart of a stranger: for yourselves were strangers in the land of
Egypt.”
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CHAPTER 11

OF REPENTANCE
And when the people transgressed the law which had been given to them
by God, God being good and pitiful, unwilling to destroy them, in addition
to His giving them the law, afterwards sent forth also prophets to them
from among their brethren, to teach and remind them of the contents of the
law, and to turn them to repentance, that they might sin no more. But if
they persisted in their wicked deeds, He forewarned them that they should
be delivered into subjection to all the kingdoms of the earth; and that this
has already happened them is manifest. Concerning repentance, then,
Isaiah the prophet, generally indeed to all, but expressly to the people,
says: “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while
He is near: let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD his God, and he will find
mercy, for He will abundantly pardon.” And another prophet, Ezekiel,
says: “If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and
keep all My statutes, and do that which is right in My sight, he shall
surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed,
they shall not be mentioned unto him; but in his righteousness that he hath
done he shall live: for I desire not the death of the sinner, saith the Lord,
but that he turn from his wicked way, and live.” Again Isaiah: “Ye who
take deep and wicked counsel, turn ye, that ye may be saved.” And
another prophet, Jeremiah: “Turn to the LORD your God, as a grape-
gatherer to his basket, and ye shall find mercy.” Many therefore, yea
rather, countless are the sayings in the Holy Scriptures regarding
repentance, God being always desirous that the race of men turn from all
their sins.

CHAPTER 12

OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Moreover, concerning the righteousness which the law enjoined,
confirmatory utterances are found both with the prophets and in the
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Gospels, because they all spoke inspired by one Spirit of God. Isaiah
accordingly spoke thus: “Put away the evil of your doings from your
souls; learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the
fatherless, plead for the widow.” And again the same prophet said: “Loose
every band of wickedness, dissolve every oppressive contract, let the
oppressed go free, and tear up every unrighteous bond. Deal out thy bread
to the hungry, and bring the houseless poor to thy home. When thou seest
the naked, cover him, and hide not thyself from thine own flesh. Then
shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring
forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.” In like manner
also Jeremiah says: “Stand in the ways, and see, and ask which is the good
way of the LORD your God, and walk in it and ye shall find rest for your
souls. Judge just judgment, for in this is the will of the LORD your God.”
So also says Hosea: “Keep judgment, and draw near to your God, who
established the heavens and created the earth.” And another, Joel, spoke in
agreement with these: “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation,
assemble the elders, gather the children that are in arms; let the bridegroom
go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet, and pray to the
LORD thy God urgently that he may have mercy upon you, and blot out
your sins.” In like manner also another, Zachariah: “Thus saith the LORD
Almighty, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every
man to his brother; and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, nor the
stranger; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart,
saith the LORD Almighty.”

CHAPTER 13

OF CHASTITY
And concerning chastity, the holy word teaches us not only not to sin in
act, but not even in thought, not even in the heart to think of any evil, nor
look on another man’s wife with our eyes to lust after her. Solomon,
accordingly, who was a king and a prophet, said: “Let thine eyes look right
on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee: make straight paths for
your feet.” And the voice of the Gospel teaches still more urgently
concerning chastity, saying: “Whosoever looketh on a woman who is not
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his own wife, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in
his heart.” “And he that marrieth,” says [the Gospel], “her that is divorced
from her husband, committeth adultery; and whosoever putteth away his
wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery.”
Because Solomon says: “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes
not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals, and his feet not be
burned? So he that goeth in to a married woman shall not be innocent.”

CHAPTER 14

OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES
And that we should be kindly disposed, not only towards those of our
own stock, as some suppose, Isaiah the prophet said: “Say to those that
hate you, and that cast you out, Ye are our brethren, that the name of the
LORD may be glorified, and be apparent in their joy.” And the Gospel
says: “Love your enemies, and pray for them that despitefully use you.
For if ye love them who love you, what reward have ye? This do also the
robbers and the publicans.” And those that do good it teaches not to boast,
lest they become men-pleasers. For it says: “Let not your left hand know
what your right hand doeth.” Moreover, concerning subjection to
authorities and powers, and prayer for them, the divine word gives us
instructions, in order that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.” And it
teaches us to render all things to all, “honor to whom honor, fear to whom
fear, tribute to whom tribute; to owe no man anything, but to love all.”

CHAPTER 15

THE INNOCENCE OF THE CHRISTIANS DEFENDED
Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live
indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious
of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to
witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of
murders. But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and
ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. For if one should
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speak of cannibalism, in these spectacles the children of Thyestes and
Tereus are eaten; and as for adultery, both in the case of men and of gods,
whom they celebrate in elegant language for honors and prizes, this is
made the subject of their dramas. But far be it from Christians to conceive
any such deeds; for with them temperance dwells, self-restraint is
practiced, monogamy is observed, chastity is guarded, iniquity
exterminated, sin extirpated, righteousness exercised, law administered,
worship performed, God acknowledged: truth governs, grace guards, peace
screens them; the holy word guides, wisdom teaches, life directs, God
reigns. Therefore, though we have much to say regarding our manner of
life, and the ordinances of God, the maker of all creation, we yet consider
that we have for the present reminded you of enough to induce you to
study these things, especially since you can now read [our writings] for
yourself, that as you have been fond of acquiring information, you may
still be studious in this direction also.

CHAPTER 16

UNCERTAIN CONJECTURES OF THE PHILOSOPHERS
But I wish now to give you a more accurate demonstration, God helping
me, of the historical periods, that you may see that our doctrine is not
modern nor fabulous, but more ancient and true than all poets and authors
who have written in uncertainty. For some, maintaining that the world was
uncreated, went into infinity; and others, asserting that it was created, said
that already 153, 075 years had passed. This is stated by Apollonius the
Egyptian. And Plato, who is esteemed to have been the wisest of the
Greeks, into what nonsense did he run? For in his book entitled The
Republic, we find him expressly saying: “For if things had in all time
remained in their present arrangement, when ever could any new thing be
discovered? For ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed without
record, and one thousand or twice as many years have gone by since some
things were discovered by Daedalus, and some by Orpheus, and some by
Palamedes.” And when he says that these things happened, he implies that
ten thousand times ten thousand years elapsed from the flood to Daedalus.
And after he has said a great deal about the cities of the world, and the
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settlements, and the nations, he owns that he has said these things
conjecturally. For he says, “If then, my friend, some God should promise
us, that if we attempted to make a survey of legislation, the things now
said,” etc., which shows that he was speaking by guess; and if by guess,
then what he says is not true.

CHAPTER 17

ACCURATE INFORMATION OF THE CHRISTIANS
It behooved, therefore, that he should the rather become a scholar of God
in this matter of legislation, as he himself confessed that in no other way
could he gain accurate information than by God’s teaching him through the
law. And did not the poets Homer and Hesiod and Orpheus profess that
they themselves had been instructed by Divine Providence? Moreover, it
is said that among your writers there were prophets and prognosticators,
and that those wrote accurately: who were informed by them. How much
more, then, shall we know the truth who are instructed by the holy
prophets, who were possessed by the Holy Spirit of God! On this
account all the prophets spoke harmoniously and in agreement with one
another, and foretold the things that would come to pass in all the world.
For the very accomplishment of predicted and already consummated
events should demonstrate to those who are fond of information, yea
rather, who are lovers of truth, that those things are really true which they
declared concerning the epochs and eras before the deluge: to wit, how the
years have run on since the world was created until now, so as to manifest
the ridiculous mendacity of your authors, and show that their statements
are not true.

CHAPTER 18

ERRORS OF THE GREEKS ABOUT THE DELUGE
For Plato, as we said above, when he had demonstrated that a deluge had
happened, said that it extended not over the whole earth, but only over the
plains, and that those who fled to the highest hills saved themselves. But
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others say that there existed Deucalion and Pyrrha, and that they were
preserved in a chest; and that Deucalion, after he came out of the chest,
flung stones behind him, and that men were produced from the stones;
from which circumstance they say that men in the mass are named
“people.” Others, again, say that Clymenus existed in a second flood.
From what has already been said, it is evident that they who wrote such
things and philosophized to so little purpose are miserable, and very
profane and senseless persons. But Moses, our prophet and the servant of
God, in giving an account of the genesis of the world, related in what
manner the flood came upon the earth, telling us, besides, how the details
of the flood came about, and relating no fable of Pyrrha nor of Deucalion
or Clymenus; nor, forsooth, that only the plains were submerged, and that
those only who escaped to the mountains were saved.

CHAPTER 19

ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF THE DELUGE
And neither does he make out that there was a second flood: on the
contrary, he said that never again would there be a flood of water on the
world; as neither indeed has there been, nor ever shall be. And he says that
eight human beings were preserved in the ark, in that which had been
prepared by God’s direction, not by Deucalion, but by Noah; which
Hebrew word means in English “rest,” as we have elsewhere shown that
Noah, when he announced to the men then alive that there was a flood
coming, prophesied to them, saying, Come thither, God calls you to
repentance. On this account he was fitly called Deucalion. And this Noah
had three sons (as we mentioned in the second book), whose names were
Shem, and Ham, and Japhet; and these had three wives, one wife each;
each man and his wife. This man some have surnamed Eunuchus. All the
eight persons, therefore, who were found in the ark were preserved. And
Moses showed that the flood lasted forty days and forty nights, torrents
pouring from heaven, and from the fountains of the deep breaking up, so
that the water overtopped every high hill 15 cubits. And thus the race of
all the men that then were was destroyed, and those only who were
protected in the ark were saved; and these, we have already said, were
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eight. And of the ark, the remains are to this day to be seen in the Arabian
mountains. This, then, is in sum the history of the deluge.

CHAPTER 20

ANTIQUITY OF MOSES
And Moses, becoming the leader of the Jews, as we have already stated,
was expelled from the land of Egypt by the king, Pharaoh, whose name
was Amasis, and who, they say, reigned after the expulsion of the people
25 years and 4 months, as Manetho assumes. And after him [reigned]
Chebron, 13 years. And after him Amenophis, 20 years 7 months. And
after him his sister Amessa, 21 years 1 month. And after her Mephres, 12
years 9 months. And after him Methramuthosis, 20 years and 10 months.
And after him Tythmoses, 9 years 8 months. And after him
Damphenophis, 30 years 10 months. And after him Orus, 35 years 5
months. And after him his daughter, 10 years 3 months. After her
Mercheres, 12 years 3 months. And after him his son Armais, 30 years 1
month. After him Messes, son of Miammus, 6 years, 2 months. After him
Rameses, 1 year 4 months. After him Amenophis, 19 years 6 months.
After him his sons Thoessus and Rameses, 10 years, who, it is said, had a
large cavalry force and naval equipment. The Hebrews, indeed, after their
own separate history, having at that time migrated into the land of Egypt,
and been enslaved by the king Tethmosis, as already said, built for him
strong cities, Peitho, and Rameses, and On, which is Heliopolis; so that
the Hebrews, who also are our ancestors, and from whom we have those
sacred books which are older than all authors, as already said, are proved
to be more ancient than the cities which were at that time renowned among
the Egyptians. And the country was called Egypt from the king Sethos.
For the word Sethos, they say, is pronounced “Egypt.” And Sethos had a
brother, by name Armais. He is called Danaus, the same who passed from
Egypt to Argos, whom the other authors mention as being of very ancient
date.
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CHAPTER 21

OF MANETHO’S INACCURACY
And Manetho, who among the Egyptians gave out a great deal of
nonsense, and even impiously charged Moses and the Hebrews who
accompanied him with being banished from Egypt on account of leprosy,
could give no accurate chronological statement. For when he said they
were shepherds, and enemies of the Egyptians, he uttered truth indeed,
because he was forced to do so. For our forefathers who sojourned in
Egypt were truly shepherds, but not lepers. For when they came into the
land called Jerusalem, where also they afterwards abode, it is well known
how their priests, in pursuance of the appointment of God, continued in
the temple, and there healed every disease, so that they cured lepers and
every unsoundness. The temple was built by Solomon the king of Judaea.
And from Manetho’s own statement his chronological error is manifest.
(As it is also in respect of the king who expelled them, Pharaoh by name.
For he no longer ruled them. For having pursued the Hebrews, he and his
army were engulfed in the Red Sea. And he is in error still further, in
saying that the shepherds made war against the Egyptians.) For they went
out of Egypt, and thenceforth dwelt in the country now called Judaea, 313
years before Danaus came to Argos. And that most people consider him
older than any other of the Greeks is manifest. So that Manetho has
unwillingly declared to us, by his own writings, two particulars of the
truth: first, avowing that they were shepherds; secondly, saying that they
went out of the land of Egypt. So that even from these writings Moses
and his followers are proved to be 900 or even 1000 years prior to the
Trojan war.

CHAPTER 22

ANTIQUITY OF THE TEMPLE
Then concerning the building of the temple in Judaea, which Solomon the
king built 566 years after the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, there is
among the Tyrians a record how the temple was built; and in their archives
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writings have been preserved, in which the temple is proved to have
existed 143 years 8 months before the Tyrians founded Carthage (and this
record was made by Hiram (that is the name of the king of the Tyrians),
the son of Abimalus, on account of the hereditary friendship which existed
between Hiram and Solomon, and at the same time on account of the
surpassing wisdom possessed by Solomon. For they continually engaged
with each other in discussing difficult problems. And proof of this exists
in their correspondence, which to this day is preserved among the Tyrians,
and the writings that passed between them); as Menander the Ephesian,
while narrating the history of the Tyrian kingdom, records, speaking thus:
“For when Abimalus the king of the Tyrians died, his son Hiram
succeeded to the kingdom. He lived 53 years. And Bazorus succeeded him,
who lived 43, and reigned 17 years. And after him followed
Methuastartus, who lived 54 years, and reigned 12. And after him
succeeded his brother Atharymus, who lived 58 years, and reigned 9. He
was slain by his brother of the name of Helles, who lived 50 years, and
reigned 8 months. He was killed by Juthobalus, priest of Astarte, who
lived 40 years, and reigned 12. He was succeeded by his son Bazorus, who
lived 45 years, and reigned 7. And to him his son Metten succeeded, who
lived 32 years, and reigned 29. Pygmalion, son of Pygmalius succeeded
him, who lived 56 years, and reigned 7. And in the 7th year of his reign,
his sister, fleeing to Libya, built the city which to this day is called
Carthage.” The whole period, therefore, from the reign of Hiram to the
founding of Carthage, amounts to 155 years and 8 months. And in the
12th year of the reign of Hiram the temple in Jerusalem was built. So that
the entire time from the building of the temple to the founding of Carthage
was 143 years and 8 months.

CHAPTER 23

PROPHETS MORE ANCIENT THAN GREEK WRITERS
So then let what has been said suffice for the testimony of the Phoenicians
and Egyptians, and for the account of our chronology given by the writers
Manetho the Egyptian, and Menander the Ephesian, and also Josephus,
who wrote the Jewish war, which they waged with the Romans. For from
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these very old records it is proved that the writings of the rest are more
recent than the writings given to us through Moses, yes, and than the
subsequent prophets. For the last of the prophets, who was called
Zechariah, was contemporary with the reign of Darius. But even the
lawgivers themselves are all found to have legislated subsequently to that
period. For if one were to mention Solon the Athenian, he lived in the days
of the kings Cyrus and Darius, in the time of the prophet Zechariah first
mentioned, who was by many years the last of the prophets. Or if you
mention the lawgivers Lycurgus, or Draco, or Minos, Josephus tells us in
his writings that the sacred books take precedence of them in antiquity,
since even before the reign of Jupiter over the Cretans, and before the
Trojan war, the writings of the divine law which has been given to us
through Moses were in existence. And that we may give a more accurate
exhibition of eras and dates, we will, God helping us, now give an account
not only of the dates after the deluge, but also of those before it, so as to
reckon the whole number of all the years, as far as possible; tracing up to
the very beginning of the creation of the world, which Moses the servant
of God recorded through the Holy Spirit. For having first spoken of what
concerned the creation and genesis of the world, and of the first man, and
all that happened after in the order of events, he signified also the years
that elapsed before the deluge. And I pray for favor from the only God,
that I may accurately speak the whole truth according to His will, that you
and every one who reads this work may be guided by His truth and favor.
I will then begin first with the recorded genealogies, and I begin my
narration with the first man.

CHAPTER 24

CHRONOLOGY FROM ADAM
Adam lived till he begat a son, 230 years. And his son Seth, 205. And his
son Enos, 190. And his son Cainan, 170. And his son Mahaleel, 165. And
his son Jared, 162. And his son Enoch, 165. And his son Methuselah, 167.
And his son Lamech, 188. And Lamech’s son was Noah, of whom we
have spoken above, who begat Shem when 500 years old. During Noah’s
life, in his 600th year, the flood came. The total number of years,
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therefore, till the flood, was 2242. And immediately after the flood, Shem,
who was 100 years old, begat Arphaxad. And Arphaxad, when 135 years
old, begat Salah. And Salah begat a son when 130. And his son Eber, when
134. And from him the Hebrews name their race. And his son Phaleg begat
a son when 130. And his son Reu, when 132 And his son Serug, when
130. And his son Nahor, when 75. And his son Terah, when 70. And his
son Abraham, our patriarch, begat Isaac when he was 100 years old. Until
Abraham, therefore, there are 3278 years. The fore-mentioned Isaac lived
until he begat a son, 60 years, and begat Jacob. Jacob, till the migration
into Egypt, of which we have spoken above, lived 130 years. And the
sojourning of the Hebrews in Egypt lasted 430 years; and after their
departure from the land of Egypt they spent 40 years in the wilderness, as
it is called. All these years, therefore, amount to 3,938. And at that time,
Moses having died, Jesus the sun of Nun succeeded to his rule, and
governed them 27 years. And after Jesus, when the people had
transgressed the commandments of God, they served the king of
Mesopotamia, by name Chusarathon, 8 years. Then, on the repentance of
the people, they had judges: Gothonoel, 40 years; Eglon, 18 years; Aoth, 8
years. Then having sinned, they were subdued by strangers for 20 years.
Then Deborah judged them 40 years. Then they served the Midianites 7
years. Then Gideon judged them 40 years; Abimelech, 3 years; Thola, 22
years; Jair, 22 years. Then the Philistines and Ammonites ruled them 18
years. After that Jephthah judged them 6 years; Esbon, 7 years; Ailon, 10
years; Abdon, 8 years. Then strangers ruled them 40 years. Then Samson
judged them 20 years. Then there was peace among them for 40 years.
Then Samera judged them one year; Eli, 20 years; Samuel, 12 years.

CHAPTER 25

FROM SAUL TO THE CAPTIVITY
And after the judges they had kings, the first named Saul, who reigned 20
years; then David, our forefather, who reigned 40 years. Accordingly,
there are to the reign of David [from Isaac] 496 years. And after these
kings Solomon reigned, who also, by the will of God, was the first to build
the temple in Jerusalem; he reigned 40 years. And after him Rehoboam, 17
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years; and after him Abias, 7 years; and after him Asa, 41 years; and after
him Jehoshaphat, 25 years; and after him Joram, 8 years; and after him
Ahaziah, 1 year; and after him Athaliah, 6 years; and after her Josiah, 40
years; and after him Amaziah, 39 years; and after him Uzziah, 52 years;
and after him Jotham, 16 years; and after him Ahaz, 17 years; and after
him Hezekiah, 29 years; and after him Manasseh, 55 years; and after him
Amon, 2 years; and after him Josiah, 31 years; and after him Jehoahaz, 3
months; and after him Jehoiakim, 11 years. Then another Jehoiakim, 3
months 10 days; and after him Zedekiah, 11 years. And after these kings,
the people, continuing in their sins, and not repenting, the king of
Babylon, named Nebuchadnezzar, came up into Judaea, according to the
prophecy of Jeremiah. He transferred the people of the Jews to Babylon,
and destroyed the temple which Solomon had built. And in the Babylonian
banishment the people passed 70 years. Until the sojourning in the land of
Babylon, there are therefore, in all, 4954 years 6 months and 10 days. And
according as God had, by the prophet Jeremiah, foretold that the people
should be led captive to Babylon, in like manner He signified beforehand
that they should also return into their own land after 70 years. These 70
years then being accomplished, Cyrus becomes king of the Persians, who,
according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, issued a decree in the second year
of his reign, enjoining by his edict that all Jews who were in his kingdom
should return to their own country, and rebuild their temple to God, which
the fore-mentioned king of Babylon had demolished. Moreover, Cyrus, in
compliance with the instructions of God, gave orders to his own
bodyguards, Sabessar and Mithridates, that the vessels which had been
taken out of the temple of Judaea by Nebuchadnezzar should be restored,
and placed again in the temple. In the second year, therefore, of Darius are
fulfilled the 70 years which were foretold by Jeremiah.

CHAPTER 26

CONTRAST BETWEEN HEBREW AND GREEK WRITINGS
Hence one can see how our sacred writings are shown to be more ancient
and true than those of the Greeks and Egyptians, or any other historians.
For Herodotus and Thucydides, as also Xenophon, and most other
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historians, began their relations from about the reign of Cyrus and Darius,
not being able to speak with accuracy of prior and ancient times. For what
great matters did they disclose if they spoke of Darius and Cyrus,
barbarian kings, or of the Greeks Zopyrus and Hippias, or of the wars of
the Athenians and Lacedaemonians, or the deeds of Xerxes or of
Pausanias, who ran the risk of starving to death in the temple of Minerva,
or the history of Themistocles and the Peloponnesian war, or of
Alcibiades and Thrasybulus? For my purpose is not to furnish mere
matter of much talk, but to throw light upon the number of years from the
foundation of the world, and to condemn the empty labor and trifling of
these authors, because there have neither been twenty thousand times ten
thousand years from the flood to the present time, as Plato said, affirming
that there had been so many years; nor yet 15 times 10,375 years, as we
have already mentioned Apollonius the Egyptian gave out; nor is the
world uncreated, nor is there a spontaneous production of all things, as
Pythagoras and the rest dreamed; but, being indeed created, it is also
governed by the providence of God, who made all things; and the whole
course of time and the years are made plain to those who wish to obey the
truth. Lest, then, I seem to have made things plain up to the time of
Cyrus, and to neglect the subsequent periods, as if through inability to
exhibit them, I will endeavor, by God’s help, to give an account, according
to my ability, of the course of the subsequent times.

CHAPTER 27

ROMAN CHRONOLOGY TO THE DEATH OF M. AURELIUS
When Cyrus, then, had reigned twenty-nine years, and had been slain by
Tomyris in the country of the Massagetae, this being in the 62d
Olympiad, then the Romans began to increase in power, God
strengthening them, Rome having been founded by Romulus, the reputed
child of Mars and Ilia, in the 7th Olympiad, on the 21st day of April, the
year being then reckoned as consisting of ten months. Cyrus, then, having
died, as we have already said, in the 62d Olympiad, this date falls 220
A.U.C., in which year also Tarquinius, surnamed Superbus, reigned over
the Romans, who was the first who banished Romans and corrupted the
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youth, and made eunuchs of the citizens, and, moreover, first defiled
virgins, and then gave them in marriage. On this account he was fitly called
Superbus in the Roman language, and that is translated “the Proud.” For he
first decreed that those who saluted him should have their salute
acknowledged by some one else. He reigned twenty-five years. After him
yearly consuls were introduced, tribunes also and ediles for 453 years,
whose names we consider it long and superfluous to recount. For if any
one is anxious to learn them, he will ascertain them from the tables which
Chryserus the nomenclator compiled: he was a freedman of Aurelius
Verus, who composed a very lucid record of all things, both names and
dates, from the founding of Rome to the death of his own patron, the
Emperor Verus. The annual magistrates ruled the Romans, as we say, for
453 years. Afterwards those who are called emperors began in this order:
first, Caius Julius, who reigned 3 years 4 months 6 days; then Augustus,
56 years 4 months 1 day; Tiberius, 22 years; then another Caius, 3 years 8
months 7 days; Claudius, 23 years 8 months 24 days; Nero, 13 years 6
months 28 days; Galba, 2 years 7 months 6 days; Otho, 3 months 5 days;
Vitellius, 6 months 22 days; Vespasian, 9 years 11 months 22 days; Titus,
2 years 22 days; Domitian, 15 years 5 months 6 days; Nerva, 1 year 4
months 10 days; Trajan, 19 years 6 months 16 days; Adrian, 20 years 10
months 28 days; Antoninus, 22 years 7 months 6 days; Verus, 19 years
10 days. The time therefore of the Caesars to the death of the Emperor
Verus is 237 years 5 days. From the death of Cyrus, therefore, and the
reign of Tarquinius Superbus, to the death of the Emperor Verus, the
whole time amounts to 744 years.

CHAPTER 28

LEADING CHRONOLOGICAL EPOCHS
And from the foundation of the world the whole time is thus traced, so far
as its main epochs are concerned. From the creation of the world to the
deluge were 2242 years. And from the deluge to the time when Abraham
our forefather begat a son, 1036 years. And from Isaac, Abraham’s son, to
the time when the people dwelt with Moses in the desert, 660 years. And
from the death of Moses and the rule of Joshua the son of Nun, to the
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death of the patriarch David, 498 years. And from the death of David and
the reign of Solomon to the sojourning of the people in the land of
Babylon, 518 years 6 months 10 days. And from the government of Cyrus
to the death of the Emperor Aurelius Verus, 744 years. All the years from
the creation of the world amount to a total of 5698 years, and the odd
months and days.

CHAPTER 29

ANTIQUITY OF CHRISTIANITY
These periods, then, and all the above-mentioned facts, being viewed
collectively, one can see the antiquity of the prophetical writings and the
divinity of our doctrine, that the doctrine is not recent, nor our tenets
mythical and false, as some think; but very ancient and true. For Thallus
mentioned Belus, king of the Assyrians and Saturn, son of Titan, alleging
that Belus with the Titans made war against Jupiter and the so-called gods
in his alliance; and on this occasion he says that Gyges, being defeated,
fled to Tartessus. At that time Gyges ruled over that country, which then
was called Acte, but now is named Attica. And whence the other countries
and cities derived their names, we think it unnecessary to recount,
especially to you who are acquainted with history. That Moses, and not
he only, but also most of the prophets who followed him, is proved to be
older than all writers, and than Saturn and Belus and the Trojan war, is
manifest. For according to the history of Thallus, Belus is found to be 322
years prior to the Trojan war. But we have shown above that Moses lived
somewhere about 900 or 1000 years before the sack of Troy. And as
Saturn and Belus flourished at the same time, most people do not know
which is Saturn and which is Belus. Some worship Saturn, and call him Bel
or Bal, especially the inhabitants of the eastern countries, for they do not
know who either Saturn or Belus is. And among the Romans he is called
Saturn, for neither do they know which of the two is more ancient —
Saturn or Bel. So far as regards the commencement of the Olympiads, they
say that the observance dates from Iphitus, but according to others from
Linus, who is also called Ilius. The order which the whole number of years
and Olympiads holds, we have shown above. I think I have now, according
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to my ability, accurately discoursed both of the godlessness of your
practices, and of the whole number of the epochs of history. For if even a
chronological error has been committed by us, of, e.g., 50 or 100, or even
200 years, yet not of thousands and tens of thousands, as Plato and
Apollonius and other mendacious authors have hitherto written. And
perhaps our knowledge of the whole number of the years is not quite
accurate, because the odd months and days are not set down in the sacred
books. But so far as regards the periods we speak of, we are corroborated
by Berosus, the Chaldaean philosopher, who made the Greeks acquainted
with the Chaldaean literature, and uttered some things concerning the
deluge, and many other points of history, in agreement with Moses; and
with the prophets Jeremiah and Daniel also, he spoke in a measure of
agreement. For he mentioned what happened to the Jews under the king of
the Babylonians, whom he calls Abobassor, and who is called by the
Hebrews Nebuchadnezzar. And he also spoke of the temple of Jerusalem;
how it was desolated by the king of the Chaldaeans, and that the
foundations of the temple having been laid the second year of the reign of
Cyrus, the temple was completed in the second year of the reign of
Darius.

CHAPTER 30

WHY THE GREEKS DID NOT MENTION OUR HISTORIES
But the Greeks make no mention of the histories which give the truth first,
because they themselves only recently became partakers of the knowledge
of letters; and they themselves own it, alleging that letters were invented,
some say among the Chaldaeans, and others with the Egyptians, and
others again say that they are derived from the Phoenicians. And secondly,
because they sinned, and still sin, in not making mention of God, but of
vain and useless matters. For thus they most heartily celebrate Homer and
Hesiod, and the rest of the poets, but the glory of the incorruptible and
only God they not only omit to mention, but blaspheme; yes, and they
persecuted, and do daily persecute, those who worship Him. And not
only so, but they even bestow prizes and honors on those who in
harmonious language insult God; but of those who are zealous in the
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pursuit of virtue and practice a holy life, some they stoned, some they put
to death, and up to the present time they subject them to savage tortures.
Wherefore such men have necessarily lost the wisdom of God, and have
not found the truth.
If you please, then, study these things carefully, that you may have a
compendium and pledge of the truth.
238

WRITINGS OF ATHENAGORAS
INTRODUCTORY NOTE

TO THE

WRITINGS OF ATHENAGORAS

[TRANSLATED BY THE REV. B. P. PRATTEN]
[A.D. 177] In placing Athenagoras here, somewhat out of the order
usually accepted, I commit no appreciable violence against chronology,
and I gain a great advantage for the reader. To some extent we must
recognize, in collocation, the principles of affinity and historic growth.
Closing up the bright succession of the earlier Apologists, this favorite
author affords also a fitting introduction to the great founder of the
Alexandrian School, who comes next into view. His work opens the way
for Clement’s elaboration of Justin’s claim, that the whole of philosophy
is embraced in Christianity. It is charming to find the primal fountains of
Christian thought uniting here, to flow on for ever in the widening and
deepening channel of Catholic orthodoxy, as it gathers into itself all human
culture, and enriches the world with products of regenerated mind,
harvested from its overflow into the fields of philosophy and poetry and
art and science. More of this when we come to Clement, that man of
genius who introduced Christianity to itself, as reflected in the burnished
mirror of his intellect. Shackles are falling from the persecuted and
imprisoned faculties of the faithful, and soon the Faith is to speak out, no
more in tones of apology, but as mistress of the human mind, and its pilot
to new worlds of discovery and broad domains of conquest. All hail the
freedom with which, henceforth, Christians are to assume the overthrow
of heathenism as a foregone conclusion. The distasteful exposure of
heresies was the inevitable task after the first victory. It was the chase and
following-up of the adversary in his limping and cowardly retreat, “the
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scattering of the rear of darkness.” With Athenagoras, we touch upon
tokens of things to come; we see philosophy yoked to the chariot of
Messiah; we begin to realize that sibylline surrender of outworn Paganism,
and its forecast of an era of light: —
“Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo,
quo ferrea primum
Desinet, ac toto surget gens aurea mundo.”

In Athenagoras, whose very name is a retrospect, we discover a remote
result of St. Paul’s speech on Mars Hill. The apostle had cast his bread
upon the waters of Ilissus and Cephisus to find it after many days. “When
they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked;” but here comes
a philosopher, from the Athenian agora, a convert to St. Paul’s argument in
his Epistle to the Corinthians, confessing” the unknown God,”
demolishing the marble mob of deities that so “stirred the apostle’s spirit
within him,” and teaching alike the Platonist and the Stoic to sit at the feet
of Jesus. “Dionysius the Areopagite, and the woman named Damaris,” are
no longer to be despised as the scanty first-fruits of Attica. They too have
found a voice in this splendid trophy of the Gospel; and, “being dead,
they yet speak” through him. To the meager facts of his biography, which
appear below, there is nothing to be added; and I shall restrain my
disposition to be a commentator, within the limits of scanty notations. In
the notes to Tatian and Theophilus, I have made the student acquainted
with that useful addition to his treatise on Justin Martyr, in which the able
and judicious Bishop Kaye harmonizes those authors with Justin. The
same harmony enfolds the works of Athenagoras, and thus affords a
synopsis of Christian teaching under the Antonines; in which precision of
theological language is yet unattained, but identity of faith is clearly
exhibited. While the Germans are furnishing the scholar with critical
editions of the ancients, invaluable for their patient accumulations of fact
and illustration, they are so daring in theory and conjecture when they
come to exposition, that one enjoys the earnest and wholesome tone of
sober comment that distinguishes the English theologian. It has the great
merit of being inspired by profound sympathy with primitive writers, and
unadulterated faith in the Scriptures. Too often a German critic treats one
of these venerable witnesses, who yet live and yet speak, as if they were
dead subjects on the dissecting-table. They cut and carve with anatomical
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display, and use the microscope with scientific skill; but, oh! how
frequently they surrender the saints of God as mere corpses, into the
hands of those who count them victims of a blind faith in a dead Christ.
It will not be necessary, after my quotations from Kaye in the foregoing
sheets, to do more than indicate similar illustrations of Athenagoras to be
found in his pages. The dry version often requires lubrications of devoutly
fragrant exegesis; and providentially they are at hand in that elaborate but
modest work, of which even this generation should not be allowed to lose
sight.
The annotations of Conrad Gesner and Henry Stephans would have
greatly enriched this edition, had I been permitted to enlarge the work by
adding a version of them. They are often curious, and are supplemented by
the interesting letter of Stephans to Peter Nannius, “the eminent pillar of
Louvain,” on the earliest copies of Athenagoras, from which modern
editions have proceeded. The Paris edition of Justin Martyr (1615)
contains these notes, as well as the Greek of Tatian, Theophilus, and
Athenagoras, with a Latin rendering. As Bishop Kaye constantly refers to
this edition, I have considered myself fortunate in possessing it; using it
largely in comparing his learned comments with the Edinburgh Version.
A few words as to the noble treatise of our author, on the Resurrection.
As a firm and loving voice to this keynote of Christian faith, it rings like an
anthem through all the variations of his thought and argument. Comparing
his own blessed hope with the delusions of a world lying in wickedness,
and looking steadfastly to the life of the world to come, what a sublime
contrast we find in this figure of Christ’s witness to the sensual life of the
heathen, and even to the groping wisdom of the Attic sages. I think this
treatise a sort of growth from the mind of one who had studied in the
Academe, pitying yet loving poor Socrates and his disciples. Yet more, it
is the outcome of meditation on that sad history in the Acts, which
expounds St. Paul’s bitter reminiscences, when he says that his gospel
was, “to the Greeks, foolishness.” They never “heard him again on this
matter.” He left them under the confused impressions they had expressed
in the agora, when they said, “he seemeth to be a setter-forth of new
gods.” St. Luke allows himself a smile only half suppressed when he adds,
“because he preached unto them Jesus and Anastasis,” which in their ears
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was only a barbarian echo to their own Phoebus and Artemis; and what did
Athenians want of any more wares of that sort, especially under the
introduction of a poor Jew from parts unknown? Did the apostle’s
prophetic soul foresee Athenagoras, as he “departed from among them”?
However that may be, his blessed Master “knew what he would do.” He
could let none of Paul’s words fall to the ground, without taking care that
some seeds should bring forth fruit a thousand-fold. Here come the
sheaves at last. Athenagoras proves, also, what our Savior meant, when he
said to the Galileans, “Ye are the light of the world.”
The following is the original INTRODUCTORY NOTICE : —
IT is one of the most singular facts in early ecclesiastical history, that the
name of Athenagoras is scarcely ever mentioned. Only two references to
him and his writings have been discovered. One of these occurs in the
work of Methodius, On the Resurrection of the Body, as preserved by
Epiphaniu (Haer., 64.) and Photiu (Biblioth., 234.). The other notice of
him is found in the writings of Philip of Side, in Pamphylia, who
flourished in the early part of the fifth century. It is very remarkable that
Eusebius should have been altogether silent regarding him; and that
writings, so elegant and powerful as are those which still exist under his
name, should have been allowed in early times to sink into almost entire
oblivion.
We know with certainty regarding Athenagoras, that he was an Athenian
philosopher who had embraced Christianity, and that his Apology, or, as
he styles it, “Embassy” (presbei>a ), was presented to the Emperors
Aurelius and Commodus about A.D. 177. He is supposed to have written
a considerable number of works, but the only other production of his
extant is his treatise on the Resurrection. It is probable that this work was
composed somewhat later than the Apology (see Chapter 36.), though its
exact date cannot be determined. Philip of Side also states that he preceded
Pantaenus as head of the catechetical school at Alexandria; but this is
probably incorrect, and is contradicted by Eusebius. A more interesting
and perhaps well-rounded statement is made by the same writer respecting
Athenagoras, to the effect that he was won over to Christianity while
reading the Scriptures in order to controvert them. Both his Apology and
his treatise on the Resurrection display a practiced pen and a richly
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cultured mind. He is by far the most elegant, and certainly at the same time
one of the ablest, of the early Christian Apologists
243

A PLEA FOR THE CHRISTIANS
BY ATHENAGORAS THE ATHENIAN:

PHILOSOPHER AND CHRISTIAN
To the Emperors Marcus Aurelius Anoninus and Lucius Aurelius
Commodus, conquerors of Armenia and Sarmatia, and more than all,
philosophers.

CHAPTER 1

INJUSTICE SHOWN TOWARDS THE CHRISTIANS
In your empire, greatest of sovereigns, different nations have different
customs and laws; and no one is hindered by law or fear of punishment
from following his ancestral usages, however ridiculous these may be. A
citizen of Ilium calls Hector a god, and pays divine honors to Helen, taking
her for Adrasteia. The Lacedaemonian venerates Agamemnon as Zeus, and
Phylonoe the daughter of Tyndarus; and the man of Tenedos worships
Tennes. The Athenian sacrifices to Erechtheus as Poseidon. The
Athenians also perform religious rites and celebrate mysteries in honor of
Agraulus and Pandrosus, women who were deemed guilty of impiety for
opening the box. In short, among every nation and people, men offer
whatever sacrifices and celebrate whatever mysteries they please. The
Egyptians reckon among their gods even cats, and crocodiles, and serpents,
and asps, and dogs. And to all these both you and the laws give
permission so to act, deeming, on the one hand, that to believe in no god at
all is impious and wicked, and on the other, that it is necessary for each
man to worship the gods he prefers, in order that through fear of the deity,
men may be kept from wrong-doing. But why — for do not, like the
multitude, be led astray by hearsay — why is a mere name odious to you?
Names are not deserving of hatred: it is the unjust act that calls for penalty
and punishment. And accordingly, with admiration of your mildness and
244
gentleness, and your peaceful and benevolent disposition towards every
man, individuals live in the possession of equal rights; and the cities,
according to their rank, share in equal honor; and the whole empire, under
your intelligent sway, enjoys profound peace. But for us who are called
Christians you have not in like manner cared; but although we commit no
wrong — nay, as will appear in the sequel of this discourse, are of all men
most piously and righteously disposed towards the Deity and towards
your government — you allow us to be harassed, plundered, and
persecuted, the multitude making war upon us for our name alone. We
venture, therefore, to lay a statement of our case before you — and you
willlearn from this discourse that we suffer unjustly, and contrary to all
law and reason — and we beseech you to bestow some consideration upon
us also, that we may cease at length to be slaughtered at the instigation of
false accusers. For the fine imposed by our persecutors does not aim
merely at our property, nor their insults at our reputation, nor the damage
they do us at any other of our greater interests. These we hold in
contempt, though to the generality they appear matters of great
importance; for we have learned, not only not to return blow for blow, nor
to go to law with those who plunder and rob us, but to those who smite us
on one side of the face to offer the other side also, and to those who take
away our coat to give likewise our cloak. But, when we have surrendered
our property, they plot against our very bodies and souls, pouring upon
us wholesale charges of crimes of which we are guiltless even in thought,
but which belong to these idle praters themselves, and to the whole tribe
of those who are like them.

CHAPTER 2

CLAIM TO BE TREATED AS OTHERS ARE WHEN ACCUSED
If, indeed, any one can convict us of a crime, be it small or great, we do not
ask to be excused from punishment, but are prepared to undergo the
sharpest and most merciless inflictions. But if the accusation relates
merely to our name — and it is undeniable, that up to the present time the
stories told about us rest on nothing better than the common
undiscriminating popular talk, nor has any Christian been convicted of
245
crime — it will devolve on you, illustrious and benevolent and most
learned sovereigns, to remove by law this despiteful treatment, so that, as
throughout the world both individuals and cities partake of your
beneficence, we also may feel grateful to you, exulting that we are no
longer the victims of false accusation. For it does not comport with your
justice, that others when charged with crimes should not be punished till
they are convicted, but that in our case the name we bear should have more
force than the evidence adduced on the trial, when the judges, instead of
inquiring whether the person arraigned have committed any crime, vent
their insults on the name, as if that were itself a crime. But no name in and
by itself is reckoned either good or bad; names appear bad or good
according as the actions underlying them are bad or good. You, however,
have yourselves a clear knowledge of this, since you are well instructed in
philosophy and all learning. For this reason, too, those who are brought
before you for trial, though they may be arraigned on the gravest charges,
have no fear, because they know that you will inquire respecting their
previous life, and not be influenced by names if they mean nothing, nor by
the charges contained in the indictments if they should be false: they
accept with equal satisfaction, as regards its fairness, the sentence whether
of condemnation or acquittal. What, therefore, is conceded as the common
right of all, we claim for ourselves, that we shall not be hated and punished
because we are called Christians (for what has the name to do with our
being bad men?), but be tried on any charges which may be brought against
us, and either be released on our disproving them, or punished if convicted
of crime — not for the name (for no Christian is a bad man unless he
falsely profess our doctrines), but for the wrong which has been done. It is
thus that we see the philosophers judged. None of them before trial is
deemed by the judge either good or bad on account of his science or art,
but if found guilty of wickedness he is punished, without thereby affixing
any stigma on philosophy (for he is a bad man for not cultivating
philosophy in a lawful manner, but science is blameless), while if he
refutes the false charges he is acquitted. Let this equal justice, then, be
done to us. Let the life of the accused persons be investigated, but let the
name stand free from all imputation. I must at the outset of my defense
entreat you, illustrious emperors, to listen to me impartially: not to be
carried away by the common irrational talk and prejudge the case, but to
apply your desire of knowledge and love of truth to the examination of our
246
doctrine also. Thus, while you on your part will not err through ignorance,
we also, by disproving the charges arising out of the undiscerning rumor of
the multitude, shall cease to be assailed.

CHAPTER 3

CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS
Three things are alleged against us: atheism, Thyestean feasts, Oedipodean
intercourse. But if these charges are true, spare no class: proceed at once
against our crimes; destroy us root and branch, with our wives and
children, if any Christian is found to live like the brutes. And yet even the
brutes do not touch the flesh of their own kind; and they pair by a law of
nature, and only at the regular season, not from simple wantonness; they
also recognize those from whom they receive benefits. If any one,
therefore, is more savage than the brutes, what punishment that he can
endure shall be deemed adequate to such offenses? But, if these things are
only idle tales and empty slanders, originating in the fact that virtue is
opposed by its very nature to vice, and that contraries war against one
another by a divine law (and you are yourselves witnesses that no such
iniquities are committed by us, for you forbid informations to be laid
against us), it remains for you to make inquiry concerning our life, our
opinions, our loyalty and obedience to you and your house and
government, and thus at length to grant to us the same rights (we ask
nothing more) as to those who persecute us. For we shall then conquer
them, unhesitatingly surrendering, as we now do, our very lives for the
truth’s sake.

CHAPTER 4

THE CHRISTIANS ARE NOT ATHEISTS,
BUT ACKNOWLEDGE ONE ONLY GOD
As regards, first of all, the allegation that we are atheists — for I will meet
the charges one by one, that we may not be ridiculed for having no answer
to give to those who make them — with reason did the Athenians adjudge
247
Diagoras guilty of atheism, in that he not only divulged the Orphic
doctrine, and published the mysteries of Eleusis and of the Cabiri, and
chopped up the wooden statue of Hercules to boil his turnips, but openly
declared that there was no God at all. But to us, who distinguish God from
matter, and teach that matter is one thing and God another, and that they
are separated by a wide interval (for that the Deity is uncreated and
eternal, to be beheld by the understanding and reason alone, while matter is
created and perishable), is it not absurd to apply the name of atheism? If
our sentiments were like those of Diagoras, while we have such incentives
to piety — in the established order, the universal harmony, the magnitude,
the color, the form, the arrangement of the world — with reason might our
reputation for impiety, as well as the cause of our being thus harassed, be
charged on ourselves. But, since our doctrine acknowledges one God, the
Maker of this universe, who is Himself uncreated (for that which is does
not come to be, but that which is not) but has made all things by the Logos
which is from Him, we are treated unreasonably in both respects, in that
we are both defamed and persecuted.

CHAPTER 5

TESTIMONY OF THE POETS TO THE UNITY OF GOD.
Poets and philosophers have not been voted atheists for inquiring
concerning God. Euripides, speaking of those who, according to popular
preconception, are ignorantly called gods, says doubtingly: —
“If Zeus indeed does reign in heaven above,
He ought not on the righteous ills to send.”

But speaking of Him who is apprehended by the understanding as matter
of certain knowledge, he gives his opinion decidedly, and with intelligence,
thus: —
“Seest thou on high him who, with humid arms,
Clasps both the boundless ether and the earth?
Him reckon Zeus, and him regard as God.”

For, as to these so-called gods, he neither saw any real existences, to which
a name is usually assigned, underlying them (“Zeus,” for instance: “who
248
Zeus is I know not, but by report”), nor that any names were given to
realities which actually do exist (for of what use are names to those who
have no real existences underlying them?); but Him he did see by means of
His works, considering with an eye to things unseen the things which are
manifest in air, in ether, on earth. Him therefore, from whom proceed all
created things, and by whose Spirit they are governed, he concluded to be
God; and Sophocles agrees with him, when he says: —
“There is one God, in truth there is but one,
Who made the heavens, and the broad earth beneath.”

[Euripides is speaking] of the nature of God, which fills His works with
beauty, and teaching both where God must be, and that He must be One.

CHAPTER 6

OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS AS TO THE ONE GOD
Philolaus, too, when he says that all things are included in God as in a
stronghold, teaches that He is one, and that He is superior to matter. Lysis
and Opsimus thus define God: the one says that He is an ineffable
number, the other that He is the excess of the greatest number beyond that
which comes nearest to it. So that since ten is the greatest number
according to the Pythagoreans, being the Tetractys, and containing all the
arithmetic and harmonic principles, and the Nine stands next to it, God is a
unit — that is, one. For the greatest number exceeds the next least by one.
Then there are Plato and Aristotle — not that I am about to go through all
that the philosophers have said about God, as if I wished to exhibit a
complete summary of their opinions; for I know that, as you excel all men
in intelligence and in the power of your rule, in the same proportion do
you surpass them all in an accurate acquaintance with all learning,
cultivating as you do each several branch with more success than even
those who have devoted themselves exclusively to any one. But, inasmuch
as it is impossible to demonstrate without the citation of names that we
are not alone in confining the notion of God to unity, I have ventured on
an enumeration of opinions. Plato, then, says, “To find out the Maker and
Father of this universe is difficult; and, when found, it is impossible to
declare Him to all,” conceiving of one uncreated and eternal God. And if he
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recognizes others as well, such as the sun, moon, and stars, yet he
recognizes them as created: “gods, offspring of gods, of whom I am the
Maker, and the Father of works which are indissoluble apart from my will;
but whatever is compounded can be dissolved.” If, therefore, Plato is not
an atheist for conceiving of one uncreated God, the Framer of the universe,
neither are we atheists who acknowledge and firmly hold that He is God
who has framed all things by the Logos, and holds them in being by His
Spirit. Aristotle, again, and his followers, recognizing the existence of one
whom they regard as a sort of compound living creature (zw~on), speak of
God as consisting of soul and body, thinking His body to be the etherial
space and the planetary stars and the sphere of the fixed stars, moving in
circles; but His soul, the reason which presides over the motion of the
body, itself not subject to motion, but becoming the cause of motion to the
other. The Stoics also, although by the appellations they employ to suit
the changes of matter, which they say is permeated by the Spirit of God,
they multiply the Deity in name, yet in reality they consider God to be
one. For, if God is an artistic fire advancing methodically to the production
of the several things in the world, embracing in Himself all the seminal
principles by which each thing is produced in accordance with fate, and if
His Spirit pervades the whole world, then God is one according to them,
being named Zeus in respect of the fervid part (to< ze>on) of matter, and
Hera in respect of the air (oJ ajhr), and called by other names in respect of
that particular part of matter which He pervades.

CHAPTER 7

SUPERIORITY OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE
RESPECTING GOD
Since, therefore, the unity of the Deity is confessed by almost all, even
against their will, when they come to treat of the first principles of the
universe, and we in our turn likewise assert that He who arranged this
universe is God, — why is it that they can say and write with impunity
what they please concerning the Deity, but that against us a law lies in
force, though we are able to demonstrate what we apprehend and justly
believe, namely that there is one God, with proofs and reason accordant
250
with truth? For poets and philosophers, as to other subjects so also to
this, have applied themselves in the way of conjecture, moved, by reason
of their affinity with the afflatus from God, each one by his own soul, to
try whether he could find out and apprehend the truth; but they have not
been found competent fully to apprehend it, because they thought fit to
learn, not from God concerning God, but each one from himself; hence
they came each to his own conclusion respecting God, and matter, and
forms, and the world. But we have for witnesses of the things we
apprehend and believe, prophets, men who have pronounced concerning
God and the things of God, guided by the Spirit of God. And you too will
admit, excelling all others as you do in intelligence and in piety towards the
true God (to< o]ntwv qei~on), that it would be irrational for us to cease to
believe in the Spirit from God, who moved the mouths of the prophets
like musical instruments, and to give heed to mere human opinions.

CHAPTER 8

ABSURDITIES OF POLYTHEISM
As regards, then, the doctrine that there was from the beginning one God,
the Maker of this universe, consider it in this wise, that you may be
acquainted with the argumentative grounds also of our faith. If there were
from the beginning two or more gods, they were either in one and the same
place, or each of them separately in his own. In one and the same place
they could not be. For, if they are gods, they are not alike; but because
they are uncreated they are unlike: — for created things are like their
patterns; but the uncreated are unlike, being neither produced from any
one, nor formed after the pattern of any one. Hand and eye and foot are
parts of one body, making up together one man: is God in this sense one?
And indeed Socrates was compounded and divided into parts, just because
he was created and perishable; but God is uncreated, and, impassible, and
indivisible — does not, therefore, consist of parts. But if, on the contrary,
each of them exists separately, since He that made the world is above the
things created, and about the things He has made and set in order, where
can the other or the rest be? For if the world, being made spherical, is
confined within the circles of heaven, and the Creator of the world is above
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the things created, managing that by His providential care of these, what
place is there for the second God, or for the other gods? For he is not in
the world, because it belongs to the other; nor about the world, for God
the Maker of the world is above it. But if he is neither in the world nor
about the world (for all that surrounds it is occupied by this one), where is
he? Is he above the world and [the first] God? In another world, or about
another? But if he is in another or about another, then he is not about us,
for he does not govern the world; nor is his power great, for he exists in a
circumscribed space. But if he is neither in another world (for all things are
filled by the other), nor about another (for all things are occupied by the
other), he clearly does not exist at all, for there is no place in which he can
be. Or what does he do, seeing there is another to whom the world
belongs, and he is above the Maker of the world, and yet is neither in the
world nor about the world? Is there, then, some other place where he can
stand? But God, and what belongs to God, are above him. And what, too,
shall be the place, seeing that the other fills the regions which are above the
world? Perhaps he exerts a providential care? [By no means.] And yet,
unless he does so, he has done nothing. If, then, he neither does anything
nor exercises providential care, and if there is not another place in which he
is, then this Being of whom we speak is the one God from the beginning,
and the sole Maker of the world.

CHAPTER 9

THE TESTIMONY OF THE PROPHETS
If we satisfied ourselves with advancing such considerations as these, our
doctrines might by some be looked upon as human. But, since the voices
of the prophets confirm our arguments — for I think that you also, with
your great zeal for knowledge, and your great attainments in learning,
cannot be ignorant of the writings either of Moses or of Isaiah and
Jeremiah, and the other prophets, who, lifted in ecstasy above the natural
operations of their minds by the impulses of the Divine Spirit, uttered the
things with which they were inspired, the Spirit making use of them as a
flute-player breathes into a flute; — what, then, do these men say? The
LORD is our God; no other can be compared with Him.” And again: “I am
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God, the first and the last, and besides Me there is no God.” In like
manner: “Before Me there was no other God, and after Me there shall be
none; I am God, and there is none besides Me.” And as to His greatness:
“Heaven is My throne, and the earth is the footstool of My feet: what
house will ye build for Me, or what is the place of My rest?” But I leave it
to you, when you meet with the books themselves, to examine carefully
the prophecies contained in them, that you may on fitting grounds defend
us from the abuse cast upon us.

CHAPTER 10

THE CHRISTIANS WORSHIP THE FATHER,
SON, AND HOLY GHOST
That we are not atheists, therefore, seeing that we acknowledge one God,
uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, illimitable, who
is apprehended by the understanding only and the reason, who is
encompassed by light, and beauty, and spirit, and power ineffable, by
whom the universe has been created through His Logos, and set in order,
and is kept in being — I have sufficiently demonstrated. [I say “His
Logos”], for we acknowledge also a Son of God. Nor let any one think it
ridiculous that God should have a Son. For though the poets, in their
fictions, represent the gods as no better than men, our mode of thinking is
not the same as theirs, concerning either God the Father or the Son. But
the Son of God is the Logos of the Father, in idea and in operation; for
after the pattern of Him and by Him were all things made, the Father and
the Son being one. And, the Son being in the Father and the Father in the
Son, in oneness and power of spirit, the understanding and reason (nou~v
kai< lo>gov) of the Father is the Son of God. But if, in your surpassing
intelligence, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by the Son, I will
state briefly that He is the first product of the Father, not as having been
brought into existence (for from the beginning, God, who is the eternal
mind [nou~v], had the Logos in Himself, being from eternity instinct with
Logos [logiko>v]; but inasmuch as He came forth to be the idea and
energizing power of all material things, which lay like a nature without
attributes, and an inactive earth, the grosser particles being mixed up with
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the lighter. The prophetic Spirit also agrees with our statements. “The
Lord,” it says, “made me, the beginning of His ways to His works.” The
Holy Spirit Himself also, which operates in the prophets, we assert to be
an effluence of God, flowing from Him, and returning back again like a
beam of the sun. Who, then, would not be astonished to hear men who
speak of God the Father, and of God the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and
who declare both their power in union and their distinction in order, called
atheists? Nor is our teaching in what relates to the divine nature confined
to these points; but we recognize also a multitude of angels and ministers,
whom God the Maker and Framer of the world distributed and appointed
to their several posts by His Logos, to occupy themselves about the
elements, and the heavens, and the world, and the things in it, and the
goodly ordering of them all.

CHAPTER 11

THE MORAL TEACHING OF THE CHRISTIANS
REPELS THE CHARGE BROUGHT AGAINST THEM
If I go minutely into the particulars of our doctrine, let it not surprise you.
It is that you may not be carried away by the popular and irrational
opinion, but may have the truth clearly before you. For presenting the
opinions themselves to which we adhere, as being not human but uttered
and taught by God, we shall be able to persuade you not to think of us as
atheists. What, then, are those teachings in which we are brought up? “I
say unto you, Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; pray for
them that persecute you; that ye may be the sons of your Father who is in
heaven, who causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain
on the just and the unjust.” Allow me here to lift up my voice boldly in
loud and audible outcry, pleading as I do before philosophic princes. For
who of those that reduce syllogisms, and clear up ambiguities, and explain
etymologies, or of those who teach homonyms and synonyms, and
predicaments and axioms, and what is the subject and what the predicate,
and who promise their disciples by these and such like instructions to
make them happy: who of them have so purged their souls as, instead of
hating their enemies, to love them; and, instead of speaking ill of those
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who have reviled them (to abstain from which is of itself an evidence of no
mean forbearance), to bless them; and to pray for those who plot against
their lives? On the contrary, they never cease with evil intent to search out
skillfully the secrets of their art, and are ever bent on working some ill,
making the art of words and not the exhibition of deeds their business and
profession. But among us you will find uneducated persons, and artisans,
and old women, who, if they are unable in words to prove the benefit of
our doctrine, yet by their deeds exhibit the benefit arising from their
persuasion of its truth: they do not rehearse speeches, but exhibit good
works; when struck, they do not strike again; when robbed, they do not go
to law; they give to those that ask of them, and love their neighbors as
themselves.

CHAPTER 12

CONSEQUENT ABSURDITY OF THE CHARGE OF ATHEISM
Should we, then, unless we believed that a God presides over the human
race, thus purge ourselves from evil? Most certainly not. But, because we
are persuaded that we shall give an account of everything in the present
life to God, who made us and the world, we adopt a temperate and
benevolent and generally despised method of life, believing that we shall
suffer no such great evil here, even should our lives be taken from us,
compared with what we shall there receive for our meek and benevolent
and moderate life from the great Judge. Plato indeed has said that Minos
and Rhadamanthus will judge and punish the wicked; but we say that,
even if a man be Minos or Rhadamanthus himself, or their father, even he
will not escape the judgment of God. Are, then, those who consider life to
be comprised in this, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” and
who regard death as a deep sleep and forgetfulness (“sleep and death,
twin-brothers”), to be accounted pious; while men who reckon the present
life of very small worth indeed, and who are conducted to the future life
by this one thing alone, that they know God and His Logos, what is the
oneness of the Son with the Father, what the communion of the Father
with the Son, what is the Spirit, what is the unity of these three, the
Spirit, the Son, the Father, and their distinction in unity; and who know
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that the life for which we look is far better than can be described in words,
provided we arrive at it pure from all wrong-doing; who, moreover, carry
our benevolence to such an extent, that we not only love our friends (“for
if ye love them,” He says, “that love you, and lend to them that lend to
you, what reward will ye have?”), — shall we, I say, when such is our
character, and when we live such a life as this, that we may escape
condemnation at last, not be accounted pious? These, however, are only
small matters taken from great, and a few things from many, that we may
not further trespass on your patience; for those who test honey and whey,
judge by a small quantity whether the whole is good.

CHAPTER 13

WHY THE CHRISTIANS DO NOT OFFER SACRIFICES
But, as most of those who charge us with atheism, and that because they
have not even the dreamiest conception of what God is, and are doltish
and utterly unacquainted with natural and divine things, and such as
measure piety by the rule of sacrifices, charges us with not acknowledging
the same gods as the cities, be pleased to attend to the following
considerations, O emperors, on both points. And first, as to our not
sacrificing: the Framer and Father of this universe does not need blood, nor
the odor of burnt-offerings, nor the fragrance of flowers and incense,
forasmuch as He is Himself perfect fragrance, needing nothing either
within or without; but the noblest sacrifice to Him is for us to know who
stretched out and vaulted the heavens, and fixed the earth in its place like a
center, who gathered the water into seas and divided the light from the
darkness, who adorned the sky with stars and made the earth to bring
forth seed of every kind, who made animals and fashioned man. When,
holding God to be this Framer of all things, who preserves them in being
and superintends them all by knowledge and administrative skill, we “lift
up holy hands” to Him, what need has He further of a hecatomb?
“For they, when mortals have transgress’d or fail’d
To do aright, by sacrifice and pray’r,
Libations and burnt-offerings, may be soothed.”
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And what have I to do with holocausts, which God does not stand in need
of? — though indeed it does behoove us to offer a bloodless sacrifice and
“the service of our reason.”

CHAPTER 14

INCONSISTENCY OF THOSE WHO ACCUSE THE CHRISTIANS
Then, as to the other complaint, that we do not pray to and believe in the
same gods as the cities, it is an exceedingly silly one. Why, the very men
who charge us with atheism for not admitting the same gods as they
acknowledge, are not agreed among themselves concerning the gods. The
Athenians have set up as gods Celeus and Metanira: the Lacedaemonians
Menelaus; and they offer sacrifices and hold festivals to him, while the
men of Ilium cannot endure the very sound of his name, and pay their
adoration to Hector. The Ceans worship Aristaeus, considering him to be
the same as Zeus and Apollo; the Thasians Theagenes, a man who
committed murder at the Olympic games; the Samians Lysander,
notwithstanding all the slaughters and all the crimes perpetrated by him;
Alcman and Hesiod Medea, and the Cilicians Niobe; the Sicilians Philip
the son of Butacides; the Amathusians Onesilus; the Carthaginians
Hamilcar. Time would fail me to enumerate the whole. When, therefore,
they differ among themselves concerning their gods, why do they bring the
charge against us of not agreeing with them? Then look at the practices
prevailing among the Egyptians: are they not perfectly ridiculous? For in
the temples at their solemn festivals they beat their breasts as for the dead,
and sacrifice to the same beings as gods; and no wonder, when they look
upon the brutes as gods, and shave themselves when they die, and bury
them in temples, and make public lamentation. If, then, we are guilty of
impiety because we do not practice a piety corresponding with theirs,
then all cities and all nations are guilty of impiety, for they do not all
acknowledge the same gods.
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CHAPTER 15

THE CHRISTIANS DISTINGUISH GOD FROM MATTER
But grant that they acknowledge the same. What then? Because the
multitude, who cannot distinguish between matter and God, or see how
great is the interval which lies between them, pray to idols made of matter,
are we therefore, who do distinguish and separate the uncreated and the
created, that which is and that which is not, that which is apprehended by
the understanding and that which is perceived by the senses, and who give
the fitting name to each of them, — are we to come and worship images?
If, indeed, matter and God are the same, two names for one thing, then
certainly, in not regarding stocks and stones, gold and silver, as gods, we
are guilty of impiety. But if they are at the greatest possible remove from
one another — as far asunder as the artist and the materials of his art —
why are we called to account? For as is the potter and the clay (matter
being the clay, and the artist the potter), so is God, the Framer of the
world, and matter, which is subservient to Him for the purposes of His
art. But as the clay cannot become vessels of itself without art, so neither
did matter, which is capable of taking all forms, receive, apart from God
the Framer, distinction and shape and order. And as we do not hold the
pottery of more worth than him who made it, nor the vessels or glass and
gold than him who wrought them; but if there is anything about them
elegant in art we praise the artificer, and it is he who reaps the glory of the
vessels: even so with matter and God — the glory and honor of the
orderly arrangement of the world belongs of right not to matter, but to
God, the Framer of matter. So that, if we were to regard the various forms
of matter as gods, we should seem to be without any sense of the true
God, because we should be putting the things which are dissoluble and
perishable on a level with that which is eternal.
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CHAPTER 16

THE CHRISTIANS DO NOT WORSHIP THE UNIVERSE
Beautiful without doubt is the world, excelling, as well in its magnitude as
in the arrangement of its parts, both those in the oblique circle and those
about the north, and also in its spherical form. Yet it is not this, but its
Artificer, that we must worship. For when any of your subjects come to
you, they do not neglect to pay their homage to you, their rulers and lords,
from whom they will obtain whatever they need, and address themselves
to the magnificence of your palace; but, if they chance to come upon the
royal residence, they bestow a passing glance of admiration on its beautiful
structure: but it is to you yourselves that they show honor, as being “all in
all.” You sovereigns, indeed, rear and adorn your palaces for yourselves;
but the world was not created because God needed it; for God is Himself
everything to Himself, — light unapproachable, a perfect world, spirit,
power, reason. If, therefore, the world is an instrument in tune, and
moving in well-measured time, I adore the Being who gave its harmony,
and strikes its notes, and sings the accordant strain, and not the
instrument. For at the musical contests the adjudicators do not pass by the
lute-players and crown the lutes. Whether, then, as Plato says, the world
be a product of divine art, I admire its beauty, and adore the Artificer; or
whether it be His essence and body, as the Peripatetics affirm, we do not
neglect to adore God, who is the cause of the motion of the body, and
descend “to the poor and weak elements,” adoring in the impassible air (as
they term it), passible matter; or, if any one apprehends the several parts
of the world to be powers of God, we do not approach and do homage to
the powers, but their Maker and Lord. I do not ask of matter what it has
not to give, nor passing God by do I pay homage to the elements, which
can do nothing more than what they were bidden; for, although they are
beautiful to look upon, by reason of the art of their Framer, yet they still
have the nature of matter. And to this view Plato also bears testimony;
“for,” says he, “that which is called heaven and earth has received many
blessings from the Father, but yet partakes of body; hence it cannot
possibly be free from change.” If, therefore, while I admire the heavens and
the elements in respect of their art, I do not worship them as gods,
knowing that the law of dissolution is upon them, how can I call those
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objects gods of which I know the makers to be men? Attend, I beg, to a
few words on this subject.

CHAPTER 17

THE NAMES OF THE GODS AND
THEIR IMAGES ARE BUT OF RECENT DATE
An apologist must adduce more precise arguments than I have yet given,
both concerning the names of the gods, to show that they are of recent
origin, and concerning their images, to show that they are, so to say, but of
yesterday. You yourselves, however, are thoroughly acquainted with these
matters, since you are versed in all departments of knowledge, and are
beyond all other men familiar with the ancients. I assert, then, that it was
Orpheus, and Homer, and Hesiod who gave both genealogies and names to
those whom they call gods. Such, too, is the testimony of Herodotus.
“My opinion,” he says, “is that Hesiod and Homer preceded me by four
hundred years, and no more; and it was they who framed a theogony for
the Greeks, and gave the gods their names, and assigned them their several
honors and functions, and described their forms.” Representations of the
gods, again, were not in use at all, so long as statuary, and painting, and
sculpture were unknown; nor did they become common until Saurias the
Samian, and Crato the Sicyonian, and Cleanthes the Corinthian, and the
Corinthian damsel appeared, when drawing in outline was invented by
Saurias, who sketched a horse in the sun, and painting by Crato, who
painted in oil on a whitened tablet the outlines of a man and woman; and
the art of making figures in relief (koroplaqikh>) was invented by the
damsel, who, being in love with a person, traced his shadow on a wall as
he lay asleep, and her father, being delighted with the exactness of the
resemblance (he was a potter), carved out the sketch and filled it up with
clay: this figure is still preserved at Corinth. After these, Daedalus and
Theodorus the Milesian further invented sculpture and statuary. You
perceive, then, that the time since representations of form and the making
of images began is so short, that we can name the artist of each particular
god. The image of Artemis at Ephesus, for example, and that of Athena (or
rather of Athela, for so is she named by those who speak more in the style
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of the mysteries; for thus was the ancient image made of the olive-tree
called), and the sitting figure of the same goddess, were made by Endoeus,
a pupil of Daedalus; the Pythian god was the work of Theodorus and
Telecles; and the Delian fod and Artemis are due to the art of Tectaeus and
Angelio; Hera in Samos and in Argos came from the hands of Smilis, and
the other statues were by Phidias; Aphrodite the courtesan in Cnidus is
the production of Praxiteles; Asclepius in Epidaurus is the work of
Phidias. In a word, of not one of these statues can it be said that it was not
made by man. If, then, these are gods, why did they not exist from the
beginning? Why, in sooth, are they younger than those who made them?
Why, in sooth, in order to their coming into existence, did they need the
aid of men and art? They are nothing but earth, and stones, and matter, and
curious art.

CHAPTER 18

THE GODS THEMSELVES HAVE BEEN CREATED,
AS THE POETS CONFESS
But, since it is affirmed by some that, although these are only images, yet
there exist gods in honor of whom they are made; and that the
supplications and sacrifices presented to the images are to be referred to
the gods, and are in fact made to the gods; and that there is not any other
way of coming to them, for
“‘Tis hard for man
To meet in presence visible a god;”

and whereas, in proof that such is the fact, they adduce the energies
possessed by certain images, let us examine into the power attached to
their names. And I would beseech you, greatest of emperors, before I enter
on this discussion, to be indulgent to me while I bring forward true
considerations; for it is not my design to show the fallacy of idols, but, by
disproving the calumnies vented against us, to offer a reason for the course
of life we follow. May you, by considering yourselves, be able to discover
the heavenly kingdom also! For as all things are subservient to you, father
and son, who have received the kingdom from above (for “the king’s soul
is in the hand of God,” saith the prophetic Spirit), so to the one God and
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the Logos proceeding from. Him, the Son, apprehended by us as
inseparable from Him, all things are in like manner subjected. This then
especially I beg you carefully to consider. The gods, as they affirm, were
not from the beginning, but every one of them has come into existence just
like ourselves. And in this opinion they all agree. Homer speaks of
“Old Oceanus,
The sire of gods, and Tethys;”

and Orpheus (who, moreover, was the first to invent their names, and
recounted their births, and narrated the exploits of each, and is believed by
them to treat with greater truth than others of divine things, whom Homer
himself follows in most matters, especially in reference to the gods) — he,
too, has fixed their first origin to be from water: —
“Oceanus, the origin of all.”

For, according to him, water was the beginning of all things, and from
water mud was formed, and from both was produced an animal, a dragon
with the head of a lion growing to it, and between the two heads there was
the face of a god, named Heracles and Kronos. This Heracles generated an
egg of enormous size, which, on becoming full, was, by the powerful
friction of its generator, burst into two, the part at the top receiving the
form of heaven (oujrano>v), and the lower part that of earth (gh~). The
goddess Ge, moreover, came forth with a body; and Ouranos, by his union
with Ge, begat females, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos; and males, the
hundred-handed Cottys, Gyges, Briareus, and the Cyclopes Brontes, and
Steropes, and Argos, whom also he bound and hurled down to Tartarus,
having learnt that he was to be ejected from his government by his
children; whereupon Ge, being enraged, brought forth the Titans.
“The godlike Gala bore to Ouranos
Sons who are by the name of Titans known,
Because they vengeance took on Ouranos,
Majestic, glitt’ring with his starry crown.”
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CHAPTER 19

THE PHILOSOPHERS AGREE WITH
THE POETS RESPECTING THE GODS
Such was the beginning of the existence both of their gods and of the
universe. Now what are we to make of this? For each of those things to
which divinity is ascribed is conceived of as having existed from the first.
For, if they have come into being, having previously had no existence, as
those say who treat of the gods, they do not exist. For, a thing is either
uncreated and eternal, or created and perishable. Nor do I think one thing
and the philosophers another. “What is that which always is, and has no
origin; or what is that which has been originated, yet never is?”
Discoursing of the intelligible and the sensible, Plato teaches that that
which always is, the intelligible, is unoriginated, but that which is not, the
sensible, is originated, beginning to be and ceasing to exist. In like manner,
the Stoics also say that all things will be burnt up and will again exist, the
world receiving another beginning. But if, although there is, according to
them, a twofold cause, one active and governing, namely providence, the
other passive and changeable, namely matter, it is nevertheless impossible
for the world, even though under the care of Providence, to remain in the
same state, because it is created — how can the constitution of these gods
remain, who are not self-existent, but have been originated? And in what
are the gods superior to matter, since they derive their constitution from
water? But not even water, according to them, is the beginning of all
things. From simple and homogeneous elements what could be
constituted? Moreover, matter requires an artificer, and the artificer
requires matter. For how could figures be made without matter or an
artificer? Neither, again, is it reasonable that matter should be older than
God; for the efficient cause must of necessity exist before the things that
are made.
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CHAPTER 20

ABSURD REPRESENTATIONS OF THE GODS
If the absurdity of their theology were confined to saying that the gods
were created, and owed their constitution to water, since I have
demonstrated that nothing is made which is not also liable to dissolution, I
might proceed to the remaining charges. But, on the one hand, they have
described their bodily forms: speaking of Hercules, for instance, as a god in
the shape of a dragon coiled up; of others as hundred-handed; of the
daughter of Zeus, whom he begat of his mother Rhea; or of Demeter, as
having two eyes in the natural order, and two in her forehead, and the face
of an animal on the back part of her neck, and as having also horns, so that
Rhea, frightened at her monster of a child, fled from her, and did not give
her the breast (qhlh>), whence mystically she is called Athela, but
commonly Phersephone and Kore, though she is not the same as Athena,
who is called Kore from the pupil of the eye; — and, on the other hand,
they have described their admirable achievements, as they deem them: how
Kronos, for instance, mutilated his father, and hurled him down from his
chariot, and how he murdered his children, and swallowed the males of
them; and how Zeus bound his father, and cast him down to Tartarus, as
did Ouranos also to his sons, and fought with the Titans for the
government; and how he persecuted his mother Rhea when she refused to
wed him, and, she becoming a she-dragon, and he himself being changed
into a dragon, bound her with what is called the Herculean knot, and
accomplished his purpose, of which fact the rod of Hermes is a symbol;
and again, how he violated his daughter Phersephone, in this case also
assuming the form of a dragon, and became the father of Dionysus. In face
of narrations like these, I must say at least this much, What that is
becoming or useful is there in such a history, that we must believe Kronos,
Zeus, Kore, and the rest, to be gods? Is it the descriptions of their bodies?
Why, what man of judgment and reflection will believe that a viper was
begotten by a god (thus Orpheus: —
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“But from the sacred womb Phanes begat
Another offspring, horrible and fierce,
In sight a frightful viper, on whose head
Were hairs: its face was comely; but the rest,
From the neck downwards, bore the aspect dire
Of a dread dragon”);

or who will admit that Phanes himself, being a first-born God (for he it
was that was produced from the egg), has the body or shape of a dragon,
or was swallowed by Zeus, that Zeus might be too large to be contained?
For if they differ in no respect from the lowest brutes (since it is evident
that the Deity must differ from the things of earth and those that are
derived from matter), they are not gods. How, then, I ask, can we
approach them as suppliants, when their origin resembles that of cattle,
and they themselves have the form of brutes, and are ugly to behold?

CHAPTER 21

IMPURE LOVES ASCRIBED TO THE GODS
But should it be said that they only had fleshly forms, and possess blood
and seed, and the affections of anger and sexual desire, even then we must
regard such assertions as nonsensical and ridiculous; for there is neither
anger, nor desire and appetite, nor procreative seed, in gods. Let them,
then, have fleshly forms, but let them be superior to wrath and anger, that
Athena may not be seen
“Burning with rage and inly wroth with Jove;”

nor Hera appear thus: —
“Juno’s breast
Could not contain her rage.”
And let them be superior to grief: —
“A woeful sight mine eyes behold: a man
I love in flight around the walls! My heart
For Hector grieves.”

For I call even men rude and stupid who give way to anger and grief. But
when the “father of men and gods” mourns for his son, —
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“Woe, woe! that fate decrees my best belov’d
Sarpedon, by Patroclus’ hand to fall;”

and is not able while he mourns to rescue him from his peril: —
“The son of Jove, yet Jove preserv’d him not;”

who would not blame the folly of those who, with tales like these, are
lovers of the gods, or rather, live without any god? Let them have fleshly
forms, but let not Aphrodite be wounded by Diomedes in her body: —
“The haughty son of Tydeus, Diomed,
Hath wounded me;”

or by Ares in her soul: —
“Me, awkward me, she scorns; and yields her charms
To that fair lecher, the strong god of arms.”
“The weapon pierced the flesh.”

He who was terrible in battle, the ally of Zeus against the Titans, is shown
to be weaker than Diomedes: —
“He raged, as Mars, when brandishing his spear.”

Hush! Homer, a god never rages. But you describe the god to me as blood-
stained, and the bane of mortals: —
“Mars, Mars, the bane of mortals, stained with blood;”

and you tell of his adultery and his bonds: —
“Then, nothing loth, th’ enamour’d fair he led,
And sunk transported on the conscious bed.
Down rushed the toils.”

Do they not pour forth impious stuff of this sort in abundance concerning
the gods? Ouranos is mutilated; Kronos is bound, and thrust down to
Tartarus; the Titans revolt; Styx dies in battle: yea, they even represent
them as mortal; they are in love with one another; they are in love with
human beings: —
“Aeneas, amid Ida’s jutting peaks,
Immortal Venus to Anchises bore.”
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Are they not in love? Do they not suffer? Nay, verily, they are gods, and
desire cannot touch them! Even though a god assume flesh in pursuance of
a divine purpose, he is therefore the slave of desire.
“For never yet did such a flood of love,
For goddess or for mortal, fill my soul;
Not for Ixion’s beauteous wife, who bore
Pirithous, sage in council as the gods;
Nor the neat-footed maiden Danae,
Acrisius’ daughter, her who Perseus bore,
Th’ observ’d of all; nor noble Phoenix’ child;
nor for Semele; Nor for Alcmena fair;...
No, nor for Ceres, golden-tressed queen;
Nor for Latona bright; nor for thyself.”

He is created, he is perishable, with no trace of a god in him. Nay, they are
even the hired servants of men: —
“Admetus’ halls, in which I have endured
To praise the menial table, though a god.”

And they tend cattle: —
“And coming to this land, I cattle fed,
For him that was my host, and kept this house.”

Admetus, therefore, was superior to the god. O prophet and wise one, and
who canst foresee for others the things that shall be, thou didst not divine
the slaughter of thy beloved, but didst even kill him with thine own hand,
dear as he was: —
“And I believed Apollo’s mouth divine
Was full of truth, as well as prophet’s art.”

(Aeschylus is reproaching Apollo for being a false prophet:) —
“The very one who sings while at the feast,
The one who said these things, alas! is he
Who slew my son.”
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CHAPTER 22

PRETENDED SYMBOLICAL EXPLANATIONS
But perhaps these things are poetic vagary, and there is some natural
explanation of them, such as this by Empedocles: —
“Let Jove be fire, and Juno source of life,
With Pluto and Nestis, who bathes with tears
The human founts.”

If, then, Zeus is fire, and Hera the earth, and Aidoneus the air, and Nestis
water, and these are elements — fire, water, air — none of them is a god,
neither Zeus, nor Hera, nor Aidoneus; for from matter separated into parts
by God is their constitution and origin: —
“Fire, water, earth, and the air’s gentle height,
And harmony with these.”

Here are things which without harmony cannot abide; which would be
brought to ruin by strife: how then can any one say that they are gods?
Friendship, according to Empedocles, has an aptitude to govern, things
that are compounded are governed, and that which is apt to govern has the
dominion; so that if we make the power of the governed and the governing
one and the same, we shall be, unawares to ourselves putting perishable
and fluctuating and changeable matter on an equality with the uncreated,
and eternal, and ever self-accordant God. Zeus is, according to the Stoics,
the fervid part of nature; Hera is the air (ajh>r) — the very name, if it be
joined to itself, signifying this; Poseidon is what is drunk (water, po>siv).
But these things are by different persons explained of natural objects in
different ways. Some call Zeus twofold masculine-feminine air; others the
season which brings about mild weather, on which account it was that he
alone escaped from Kronos. But to the Stoics it may be said, If you
acknowledge one God, the supreme and uncreated and eternal One, and as
many compound bodies as there are changes of matter, and say that the
Spirit of God, which pervades matter, obtains according to its variations a
diversity of names the forms of matter will become the body of God; but
when the elements are destroyed in the conflagration, the names will
necessarily perish along with the forms, the Spirit of God alone remaining.
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Who, then, can believe that those bodies, of which the variation according
to matter is allied to corruption, are gods? But to those who say that
Kronos is time, and Rhea the earth, and that she becomes pregnant by
Kronos, and brings forth, whence she is regarded as the mother of all; and
that he begets and devours his offspring; and that the mutilation is the
intercourse of the male with the female, which cuts off the seed and casts
it into the womb, and generates a human being, who has in himself the
sexual desire, which is Aphrodite; and that the madness of Kronos is the
turn of season, which destroys animate and inanimate things; and that the
bonds and Tartarus are time, which is changed by seasons and disappears;
— to such persons we say, If Kronos is time, he changes; if a season, he
turns about; if darkness, or frost, or the moist part of nature, none of these
is abiding; but the Deity is immortal, and immovable, and unalterable: so
that neither is Kronos nor his image God. As regards Zeus again: If he is
air, born of Kronos, of which the male part is called Zeus and the female
Hera (whence both sister and wife), he is subject to change; if a season, he
turns about: but the Deity neither changes nor shifts about. But why
should I trespass on your patience by saying more, when you know so
well what has been said by each of those who have resolved these things
into nature, or what various writers have thought concerning nature, or
what they say concerning Athena, whom they affirm to be the wisdom
(fro>nhsiv) pervading all things; and concerning His, whom they call the
birth of all time (fu>siv aijwn
~ ov), from whom all have sprung, and by
whom all exist; or concerning Osiris, on whose murder by Typhon his
brother His with her son Orus sought after his limbs, and finding them
honored them with a sepulcher, which sepulcher is to this day called the
tomb of Osiris? For whilst they wander up and down about the forms of
matter, they miss to find the God who can only be beheld by the reason,
while they deify the elements and their several parts, applying different
names to them at different times: calling the sowing of the corn, for
instance, Osiris (hence they say, that in the mysteries, on the finding of
the members of his body, or the fruits, His is thus addressed: We have
found, we wish thee joy), the fruit of the vine Dionysus, the vine itself
Semele, the heat of the sun the thunderbolt. And yet, in fact, they who
refer the fables to actual gods, do anything rather than add to their divine
character; for they do not perceive, that by the very defense they make for
the gods, they confirm the things which are alleged concerning them. What
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have Europa, and the bull, and the swan, and Leda, to do with the earth
and air, that the abominable intercourse of Zeus with them should be taken
for the intercourse of the earth and air? But missing to discover the
greatness of God, and not being able to rise on high with their reason (for
they have no affinity for the heavenly place), they pine away among the
forms of matter, and rooted to the earth, deify the changes of the elements:
just as if any one should put the ship he sailed in the place of the
steersman. But as the ship, although equipped with everything, is of no
use if it have not a steersman, so neither are the elements, though arranged
in perfect order, of any service apart from the providence of God. For the
ship will not sail of itself; and the elements without their Framer will not
move.

CHAPTER 23

OPINIONS OF THALES AND PLATO
You may say, however, since you excel all men in understanding, How
comes it to pass, then, that some of the idols manifest power, if those to
whom we erect the statues are not gods? For it is not likely that images
destitute of life and motion can of themselves do anything without a
mover. That in various places, cities, and nations, certain effects are
brought about in the name of idols, we are far from denying. None the
more, however, if some have received benefit, and others, on the contrary,
suffered harm, shall we deem those to be gods who have produced the
effects in either case. But I have made careful inquiry, both why it is that
you think the idols to have this power, and who they are that, usurping
their names, produce the effects. It is necessary for me, however, in
attempting to show who they are that produce the effects ascribed to the
idols, and that they are not gods, to have recourse to some witnesses from
among the philosophers. First Thales, as those who have accurately
examined his opinions report, divides [superior beings] into God, demons,
and heroes. God he recognizes as the Intelligence (nou~v) of the world; by
demons he understands beings possessed of Soul (yucikai> ); and by
heroes the separated souls of men, the good being the good souls, and the
bad the worthless. Plato again, while withholding his assent on other
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points, also divides [superior beings] into the uncreated God and those
produced by’ the uncreated One for the adornment of heaven, the planets,
and the fixed stars, and into demons; concerning which demons, while he
does not think fit to speak himself, he thinks that those ought to be
listened to who have spoken about them. “To speak concerning the other
demons, and to know their origin, is beyond our powers; but we ought to
believe those who have before spoken, the descendants of gods, as they
say — and surely they must be well acquainted with their own ancestors:
it is impossible, therefore, to disbelieve the sons of gods, even though they
speak without probable or convincing proofs; but as they profess to tell of
their own family affairs, we are bound, in pursuance of custom, to believe
them. In this way, then, let us hold and speak as they do concerning the
origin of the gods themselves. Of Ge and Ouranos were born Oceanus and
Tethys; and of these Phorcus, Kronos, and Rhea, and the rest; and of
Kronos and Rhea, Zeus, Hera, and all the others, who, we know, are all
called their brothers; besides other descendants again of these.” Did, then,
he who had contemplated the eternal Intelligence and God who is
apprehended by reason, and declared His attributes — His real existence,
the simplicity of His nature, the good that flows forth from Him that is
truth, and discoursed of primal power, and how “all things are about the
King of all, and all things exist for His sake, and He is the cause of all;” and
about two and three, that He is “the second moving about the seconds, and
the third about the thirds;” — did this man think, that to learn the truth
concerning those who are said to have been produced from sensible things,
namely earth and heaven, was a task transcending his powers? It is not to
be believed for a moment. But because he thought it impossible to believe
that gods beget and are brought forth, since everything that begins to be is
followed by an end, and (for this is much more difficult) to change the
views of the multitude, who receive the fables without examination, on
this account it was that he declared it to be beyond his powers to know
and to speak concerning the origin of the other demons, since he was
unable either to admit or teach that gods were begotten. And as regards
that saying of his, “The great sovereign in heaven, Zeus, driving a winged
car, advances first, ordering and managing all things, and there follow him a
host of gods and demons,” this does not refer to the Zeus who is said to
have sprung from Kronos; for here the name is given to the Maker of the
universe. This is shown by Plato himself: not being able to designate Him
271
by another title that should be suitable, he availed himself of the popular
name, not as peculiar to God, but for distinctness, because it is not
possible to discourse of God to all men as fully as one might; and he adds
at the same time the epithet “Great,” so as to distinguish the heavenly
from the earthly, the uncreated from the created, who is younger than
heaven and earth, and younger than the Cretans, who stole him away, that
he might not be killed by his father.

CHAPTER 24

CONCERNING THE ANGELS AND GIANTS
What need is there, in speaking to you who have searched into every
department of knowledge, to mention the poets, or to examine opinions of
another kind? Let it suffice to say thus much. If the poets and
philosophers did not acknowledge that there is one God, and concerning
these gods were not of opinion, some that they are demons, others that
they are matter, and others that they once were men, there might be some
show of reason for our being harassed as we are, since we employ language
which makes a distinction between God and matter, and the natures of the
two. For, as we acknowledge a God, and a Son his Logos, and a Holy
Spirit, united in essence, the Father, the Son, the Spirit, because the Son is
the Intelligence, Reason, Wisdom of the Father, and the Spirit an effluence,
as light from fire; so also do we apprehend the existence of other powers,
which exercise dominion about matter, and by means of it, and one in
particular, which is hostile to God: not that anything is really opposed to
God, like strife to friendship, according to Empedocles, and night to day,
according to the appearing and disappearing of the stars (for even if
anything had placed itself in opposition to God, it would have ceased to
exist, its structure being destroyed by the power and might of God), but
that to the good that is in God, which belongs of necessity to Him, and co-
exists with Him, as color with body, without which it has no existence
(not as being part of it, but as an attendant property co-existing with it,
united and blended, just as it is natural for fire to be yellow and the ether
dark blue), — to the good that is in God, I say, the spirit which is about
matter, who was created by God; just as the other angels were created by
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Him, and entrusted with the control of matter and the forms of matter, is
opposed. For this is the office of the angels, — to exercise providence for
God over the things created and ordered by Him; so that God may have
the universal and general providence of the whole, while the particular
parts are provided for by the angels appointed over them. Just as with
men, who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice (for you
would not either honor the good or punish the bad, unless vice and virtue
were in their own power; and some are diligent in the matters entrusted to
them by you, and others faithless), so is it among the angels. Some, free
agents, you will observe, such as they were created by God, continued in
those things for which God had made and over which He had ordained
them; but some outraged both the constitution of their nature and the
government entrusted to them: namely, this ruler of matter and its various
forms, and others of those who were placed about this first firmament
(you know that we say nothing without witnesses, but state the things
which have been declared by the prophets); these fell into impure love of
virgins, and were subjugated by the flesh, and he became negligent and
wicked in the management of the things entrusted to him. Of these lovers
of virgins, therefore, were begotten those who are called giants. And if
something has been said by the poets, too, about the giants, be not
surprised at this: worldly wisdom and divine differ as much from each
other as truth and plausibility: the one is of heaven and the other of earth;
and indeed, according to the prince of matter, —
“We know we oft speak lies that look like troths.”

CHAPTER 25

THE POETS AND PHILOSOPHERS
HAVE DENIED A DIVINE PROVIDENCE
These angels, then, who have fallen from heaven, and haunt the air and the
earth, and are no longer able to rise to heavenly things, and the souls of the
giants, which are the demons who wander about the world, perform
actions similar, the one (that is, the demons) to the natures they have
received, the other (that is, the angels) to the appetites they have indulged.
273
But the prince of matter, as may be seen merely from what transpires,
exercises a control and management contrary to the good that is in God: —
“Ofttimes this anxious thought has crossed my mind,
Whether ‘tis chance or deity that rules
The small affairs of men; and, spite of hope
As well as justice, drives to exile some
Stripped of all means of life, while others still
Continue to enjoy prosperity.”

Prosperity and adversity, contrary to hope and justice, made it impossible
for Euripides to say to whom belongs the administration of earthly affairs,
which is of such a kind that one might say of it: —
“How then, while seeing these things, can we say
There is a race of gods, or yield to laws?”

The same thing led Aristotle to say that the things below the heaven are
not under the care of Providence, although the eternal providence of God
concerns itself equally with us below, —
“The earth, let willingness move her or not,
Must herbs produce, and thus sustain my flocks,” —

and addresses itself to the deserving individually, according to truth and
not according to opinion; and all other things, according to the general
constitution of nature, are provided for by the law of reason. But because
the demoniac movements and operations proceeding from the adverse
spirit produce these disorderly sallies, and moreover move men, some in
one way and some in another, as individuals and as nations, separately and
in common, in accordance with the tendency of matter on the one hand,
and of the affinity for divine things on the other, from within and from
without, — some who are of no mean reputation have therefore thought
that this universe is constituted without any definite order, and is driven
hither and thither by an irrational chance. But they do not understand, that
of those things which belong to the constitution of the whole world there
is nothing out of order or neglected, but that each one of them has been
produced by reason, and that, therefore, they do not transgress the order
prescribed to them; and that man himself, too, so far as He that made him
is concerned, is well ordered, both by his original nature, which has one
common character for all, and by the constitution of his body, which does
not transgress the law imposed upon it, and by the termination of his life,
274
which remains equal and common to all alike; but that, according to the
character peculiar to himself and the operation of the ruling prince and of
the demons his followers, he is impelled and moved in this direction or in
that, notwithstanding that all possess in common the same original
constitution of mind.

CHAPTER 26

THE DEMONS ALLURE MEN TO THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES,
They who draw men to idols, then, are the aforesaid demons, who are
eager for the blood of the sacrifices, and lick them; but the gods that please
the multitude, and whose names are given to the images, were men, as may
be learned from their history. And that it is the demons who act under
their names, is proved by the nature of their operations. For some castrate,
as Rhea; others wound and slaughter, as Artemis; the Tauric goddess puts
all strangers to death. I pass over those who lacerate with knives and
scourges of bones, and shall not attempt to describe all the kinds of
demons; for it is not the part of a god to incite to things against nature.
“But when the demon plots against a man,
He first inflicts some hurt upon his mind.”

But God, being perfectly good, is eternally doing good. That, moreover,
those who exert the power are not the same as those to whom the statues
are erected, very strong evidence is afforded by Troas and Parium. The one
has statues of Neryllinus, a man of our own times; and Parium of
Alexander and Proteus: both the sepulcher and the statue of Alexander are
still in the forum. The other statues of Neryllinus, then, are a public
ornament, if indeed a city can be adorned by such objects as these; but one
of them is supposed to utter oracles and to heal the sick, and on this
account the people of the Troad offer sacrifices to this statue, and overlay
it with gold, and hang chaplets upon it. But of the statues of Alexander
and Proteus (the latter, you are aware, threw himself into the fire near
Olympia), that of Proteus is likewise said to utter oracles; and to that of
Alexander —
275
“Wretched Paris, though in form so fair,
Thou slave of woman” —

sacrifices are offered and festivals are held at the public cost, as to a god
who can hear. Is it, then, Neryllinus, and Proteus, and Alexander who exert
these energies in connection with the statues, or is it the nature of the
matter itself? But the matter is brass. And what can brass do of itself,
which may be made again into a different form, as Amasis treated the
footpan, as told by Herodotus? And Neryllinus, and Proteus, and
Alexander, what good are they to the sick? For what the image is said now
to effect, it effected when Neryllinus was alive and sick.

CHAPTER 27

ARTIFICES OF THE DEMONS
What then? In the first place, the irrational and fantastic movements of the
soul about opinions produce a diversity of images (ei]dwla) from time to
time: some they derive from matter, and some they fashion and bring forth
for themselves; and this happens to a soul especially when it partakes of
the material spirit and becomes mingled with it, looking not at heavenly
things and their Maker, but downwards to earthly things, wholly at the
earth, as being now mere flesh and blood, and no longer pure spirit. These
irrational and fantastic movements of the soul, then, give birth to empty
visions in the mind, by which it becomes madly set on idols. When, too, a
tender and susceptible soul, which has no knowledge or experience of
sounder doctrines, and is unaccustomed to contemplate truth, and to
consider thoughtfully the Father and Maker of all things, gets impressed
with false opinions respecting itself, then the demons who hover about
matter, greedy of sacrificial odors and the blood of victims, and ever ready
to lead men into error, avail themselves of these delusive movements of the
souls of the multitude; and, taking possession of their thoughts, cause to
flow into the mind empty visions as if coming from the idols and the
statues; and when, too, a soul of itself, as being immortal, moves
comformably to reason, either predicting the future or healing the present,
the demons claim the glory for themselves.
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CHAPTER 28

THE HEATHEN GODS WERE SIMPLY MEN
But it is perhaps necessary, in accordance with what has already been
adduced, to say a little about their names. Herodotus, then, and Alexander
the son of Philip, in his letter to his mother (and each of them is said to
have conversed with the priests at Heliopolis, and Memphis, and Thebes),
affirm that they learnt from them that the gods had been men. Herodotus
speaks thus: “Of such a nature were, they said, the beings represented by
these images, they were very far indeed from being gods. However, in the
times anterior to them it was otherwise; then Egypt had gods for its rulers,
who dwelt upon the earth with men, one being always supreme above the
rest. The last of these was Horus the son of Osiris, called by the Greeks
Apollo. He deposed Typhon, and ruled over Egypt as its last god-king.
Osiris is named Dionysus (Bacchus) by the Greeks. “Almost all the names
of the gods came into Greece from Egypt.” Apollo was the son of
Dionysus and His, as Herodotus likewise affirms: “According to the
Egyptians, Apollo and Diana are the children of Bacchus and His; while
Latona is their nurse and their preserver.” These beings of heavenly origin
they had for their first kings: partly from ignorance of the true worship of
the Deity, partly from gratitude for their government, they esteemed them
as gods together with their wives. “The male kine, if clean, and the male
calves are used for sacrifice by the Egyptians universally; but the females,
they are not allowed to sacrifice, since they are sacred to His. The statue
of this goddess has the form of a woman but with horns like a cow,
resembling those of the Greek representations of Io.” And who can be
more deserving of credit in making these statements, than those who in
family succession son from father, received not only the priesthood, but
also the history? For it is not likely that the priests, who make if their
business to commend the idols to men’s reverence, would assert falsely
that they were men. If Herodotus alone had said that the Egyptians spoke
in their histories of the gods as of men, when he says, “What they told me
concerning their religion it is not my intention to repeat, except only the
names of their deities, things of very trifling importance,” it would
behoove us not to credit even Herodotus as being a fabulist. But as
Alexander and Hermes surnamed Trismegistus, who shares with them in
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the attribute of eternity, and innumerable others, not to name them
individually, [declare the same], no room is left even for doubt that they,
being kings, were esteemed gods. That they were men, the most learned of
the Egyptians also testify, who, while saying that ether, earth, sun, moon,
are gods, regard the rest as mortal men, and the temples as their
sepulchers. Apollodorus, too, asserts the same thing in his treatise
concerning the gods. But Herodotus calls even their sufferings mysteries.
“The ceremonies at the feast of His in the city of Busiris have been
already spoken of. It is there that the whole multitude, both of men and
women, many thousands in number, beat themselves at the close of the
sacrifice in honor of a god whose name a religious scruple forbids me to
mention.” If they are gods, they are also immortal; but if people are beaten
for them, and their sufferings are mysteries, they are men, as Herodotus
himself says: “Here, too, in this same precinct of Minerva at Sais, is the
burial-place of one whom I think it not right to mention in such a
connection. It stands behind the temple against the back wall, which it
entirely covers. There are also some large stone obelisks in the enclosure,
and there is a lake near them, adorned with an edging of stone. In form it is
circular, and in size, as it seemed to me, about equal to the lake at Delos
called the Hoop. On this lake it is that the Egyptians represent by night
his sufferings whose name I refrain from mentioning, and this
representation they call their mysteries.” And not only is the sepulcher of
Osiris shown, but also his embalming: “When a body is brought to them,
they show the bearer various models of corpses made in wood, and
painted so as to resemble nature. The most perfect is said to be after the
manner of him whom I do not think it religious to name in connection with
such a matter.”

CHAPTER 29

PROOF OF THE SAME FROM THE POETS
But among the Greeks, also, those who are eminent in poetry and history
say the same thing. Thus of Heracles: —
“That lawless wretch, that man of brutal strength,
Deaf to Heaven’s voice, the social rite transgressed.”
278
Such being his nature, deservedly did he go mad, and deservedly did he
light the funeral pile and burn himself to death. Of Asclepius, Hesiod says:

“The mighty father both of gods and men
Was filled with wrath, and from Olympus’ top
With flaming thunderbolt cast down and slew
Latona’s well-lov’d son — such was his ire.”

And Pindar: —
“But even wisdom is ensnared by gain.
The brilliant bribe of gold seen in the hand
Ev’n him perverted: therefore Kronos’ son
With both hands quickly stopp’d his vital breath,
And by a bolt of fire ensured his doom.”

Either, therefore, they were gods and did not hanker after gold —
“O gold, the fairest prize to mortal men,
Which neither mother equals in delight,
Nor children dear” —

for the Deity is in want of nought, and is superior to carnal desire, nor did
they die; or, having been born men, they were wicked by reason of
ignorance, and overcome by love of money. What more need I say, or refer
to Castor, or Pollux, or Amphiaraus, who, having been born, so to speak,
only the other day, men of men, are looked upon as gods, when they
imagine even Ino after her madness and its consequent sufferings to have
become a goddess?
“Sea-rovers will her name Leucothea.”

And her son: —
“August Palaemon, sailors will invoke.”

CHAPTER 30

REASONS WHY DIVINITY HAS BEEN ASCRIBED TO MEN
For if detestable and god-hated men had the reputation of being gods, and
the daughter of Derceto, Semiramis, a lascivious and blood-stained woman,
279
was esteemed a Syrian goddess; and if, on account of Derceto, the Syrians
worship doves and Semiramis (for, a thing impossible, a woman was
changed into a dove: the story is in Ctesias), what wonder if some should
be called gods by their people on the ground of their rule and sovereignty
(the Sibyl, of whom Plato also makes mention, says: —
“It was the generation then the tenth,
Of men endow’d with speech, since forth the flood
Had burst upon the men of former times,
And Kronos, Japetus, and Titan reigned,
Whom men, of Ouranos and Gaia
Proclaimed the noblest sons, and named them so,
Because of men endowed with gift of speech They were the first”);

and others for their strength, as Heracles and Perseus; and others for their
art, as Asclepius? Those, therefore, to whom either the subjects gave
honor or the rulers themselves [assumed it], obtained the name, some from
fear, others from revenge. Thus Antinous, through the benevolence of your
ancestors towards their subjects, came to be regarded as a god. But those
who came after adopted the worship without examination.
“The Cretans always lie; for they, O king,
Have built a tomb to thee who art not dead.”

Though you believe, O Callimachus, in the nativity of Zeus, you do not
believe in his sepulcher; and whilst you think to obscure the truth, you in
fact proclaim him dead, even to those who are ignorant; and if you see the
cave, you call to mind the childbirth of Rhea; but when you see the coffin,
you throw a shadow over his death, not considering that the unbegotten
God alone is eternal. For either the tales told by the multitude and the
poets about the gods are unworthy of credit, and the reverence shown
them is superfluous (for those do not exist, the tales concerning whom are
untrue); or if the births, the amours, the murders, the thefts, the
castrations, the thunderbolts, are true, they no longer exist, having ceased
to be since they were born, having previously had no being. And on what
principle must we believe some things and disbelieve others, when the
poets have written their stories in order to gain greater veneration for
them? For surely those through whom they have got to be considered
gods, and who have striven to represent their deeds as worthy of
reverence, cannot have invented their sufferings. That, therefore, we are
not atheists, acknowledging as we do God the Maker of this universe and
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His Logos, has been proved according to my ability, if not according to the
importance of the subject.

CHAPTER 31

CONFUTATION OF THE OTHER CHARGES
BROUGHT AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS
But they have further also made up stories against us of impious feasts
and forbidden intercourse between the sexes, both that they may appear to
themselves to have rational grounds of hatred, and because they think
either by fear to lead us away from our way of life, or to render the rulers
harsh and inexorable by the magnitude of the charges they bring. But they
lose their labor with those who know that from of old it has been the
custom, and not in our time only, for vice to make war on virtue. Thus
Pythagoras, with three hundred others, was burnt to death; Heraclitus and
Democritus were banished, the one from the city of the Ephesians, the
other from Abdera, because he was charged with being mad; and the
Athenians condemned Socrates to death. But as they were none the worse
in respect of virtue because of the opinion of the multitude, so neither
does the undiscriminating calumny of some persons cast any shade upon
us as regards rectitude of life, for with God we stand in good repute.
Nevertheless, I will meet these charges also, although I am well assured
that by what has been already said I have cleared myself to you. For as
you excel all men in intelligence, you know that those whose life is
directed towards God as its rule, so that each one among us may be
blameless and irreproachable before Him, will not entertain even the
thought of the slightest sin. For if we believed that we should live only the
present life, then we might be suspected of sinning, through being enslaved
to flesh and blood, or overmastered by gain or carnal desire; but since we
know that God is witness to what we think and what we say both by
night and by day, and that He, being Himself light, sees all things in our
heart, we are persuaded that when we are removed from the present life
we shall live another life, better than the present one, and heavenly, not
earthly (since we shall abide near God, and with God, free from all change
or suffering in the soul, not as flesh, even though we shall have flesh, but
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as heavenly spirit), or, falling with the rest, a worse one and in fire; for
God has not made us as sheep or beasts of burden, a mere by-work, and
that we should perish and be annihilated. On these grounds it is not likely
that we should wish to do evil, or deliver ourselves over to the great Judge
to be punished.

CHAPTER 32

ELEVATED MORALITY OF THE CHRISTIANS
It is, however, nothing wonderful that they should get up tales about us
such as they tell of their own gods, of the incidents of whose lives they
make mysteries. But it behooved them, if they meant to condemn
shameless and promiscuous intercourse, to hate either Zeus, who begat
children of his mother Rhea and his daughter Kore, and took his own sister
to wife, or Orpheus, the inventor of these tales, which made Zeus more
unholy and detestable than Thyestes himself; for the latter defiled his
daughter in pursuance of an oracle, and when he wanted to obtain the
kingdom and avenge himself. But we are so far from practicing
promiscuous intercourse, that it is not lawful among us to indulge even a
lustful look. “For,” saith He, “he that looketh on a woman to lust after
her, hath committed adultery already in his heart.” Those, then, who are
forbidden to look at anything more than that for which God formed the
eyes, which were intended to be a light to us, and to whom a wanton look
is adultery, the eyes being made for other purposes, and who are to be
called to account for their very thoughts, how can any one doubt that such
persons practice self-control? For our account lies not with human laws,
which a bad man can evade (at the outset I proved to you, sovereign lords,
that our doctrine is from the teaching of God), but we have a law which
makes the measure of rectitude to consist in dealing with our neighbor as
ourselves. On this account, too, according to age, we recognize some as
sons and daughters, others we regard as brothers and sisters, and to the
more advanced in life we give the honor due to fathers and mothers. On
behalf of those, then, to whom we apply the names of brothers and
sisters, and other designations of relationship, we exercise the greatest care
that their bodies should remain undefiled and uncorrupted; for the Logos
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again says to us, “If any one kiss a second time because it has given him
pleasure, [he sins];” adding, “Therefore the kiss, or rather the salutation,
should be given with the greatest care, since, if there be mixed with it the
least defilement of thought, it excludes us from eternal life.”

CHAPTER 33

CHASTITY OF THE CHRISTIANS
WITH RESPECT TO MARRIAGE
Therefore, having the hope of eternal life, we despise the things of this life,
even to the pleasures of the soul, each of us reckoning her his wife whom
he has married according to the laws laid down by us, and that only for the
purpose of having children. For as the husbandman throwing the seed into
the ground awaits the harvest, not sowing more upon it, so to us the
procreation of children is the measure of our indulgence in appetite. Nay,
you would find many among us, both men and women, growing old
unmarried, in hope of living in closer communion with God. But if the
remaining in virginity and in the state of an eunuch brings nearer to God,
while the indulgence of carnal thought and desire leads away from Him, in
those cases in which we shun the thoughts, much more do we reject the
deeds. For we bestow our attention; not on the study of words, but on the
exhibition and teaching of actions, — that a person should either remain as
he was born, or be content with one marriage; for a second marriage is only
a specious adultery. “For whosoever puts away his wife,” says He, “and
marries another, commits adultery;” not permitting a man to send her
away whose virginity he has brought to an end, nor to marry again. For he
who deprives himself of his first wife, even though she be dead, is a
cloaked adulterer, resisting the hand of God, because in the beginning God
made one man and one woman, and dissolving the strictest union of flesh
with flesh, formed for the intercourse of the race.
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CHAPTER 34

THE VAST DIFFERENCE IN MORALS BETWEEN
THE CHRISTIANS AND THEIR ACCUSERS
But though such is our character (Oh! why should I speak of things unfit
to be uttered?), the things said of us are an example of the proverb, “The
harlot reproves the chaste.” For those who have set up a market for
fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind
of vile pleasure, — who do not abstain even from males, males with males
committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest
bodies in all sorts of ways, so dishonoring the fair workmanship of God
(for beauty on earth is not self-made, but sent hither by the hand and will
of God), — these men, I say, revile us for the very things which they are
conscious of themselves, and ascribe to their own gods, boasting of them
as noble deeds, and worthy of the gods. These adulterers and pederasts
defame the eunuchs and the once-married (while they themselves live like
fishes; for these gulp down whatever fails in their way, and the stronger
chases the weaker: and, in fact, this is to feed upon human flesh, to do
violence in contravention of the very laws which you and your ancestors,
with due care for all that is fair and right, have enacted), so that not even
the governors of the provinces sent by you suffice for the hearing of the
complaints against those, to whom it even is not lawful, when they are
struck, not to offer themselves for more blows, nor when defamed not to
bless: for it is not enough to be just (and justice is to return like for like),
but it is incumbent on us to be good and patient of evil.

CHAPTER 35

THE CHRISTIANS CONDEMN AND DETEST ALL CRUELTY
What man of sound mind, therefore, will affirm, while such is our
character, that we are murderers? For we cannot eat human flesh till we
have killed some one. The former charge, therefore, being false, if any one
should ask them in regard to the second, whether they have seen what
they assert, not one of them would be so barefaced as to say that he had.
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And yet we have slaves, some more and some fewer, by whom we could
not help being seen; but even of these, not one has been found to invent
even such things against us. For when they know that we cannot endure
even to see a man put to death, though justly; who of them can accuse us
of murder or cannibalism? Who does not reckon among the things of
greatest interest the contests of gladiators and wild beasts, especially those
which are given by you? But we, deeming that to see a man put to death is
much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles. How, then,
when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution,
can we put people to death? And when we say that those women who use
drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account
to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For
it does not belong to the same person to regard the very fetus in the womb
as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has
passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who
expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand,
when it has been reared to destroy it. But we are in all things always alike
and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it.

CHAPTER 36

BEARING OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION
ON THE PRACTICES OF THE CHRISTIANS
Who, then, that believes in a resurrection, would make himself into a tomb
for bodies that will rise again? For it is not the part of the same persons to
believe that our bodies will rise again, and to eat them as if they would not;
and to think that the earth will give back the bodies held by it, but that
those which a man has entombed in himself will not be demanded back. On
the contrary, it is reasonable to suppose, that those who think they shall
have no account to give of the present life, ill or well spent, and that there
is no resurrection, but calculate on the soul perishing with the body, and
being as it were quenched in it, will refrain from no deed of daring; but as
for those who are persuaded that nothing will escape the scrutiny of God,
but that even the body which has ministered to the irrational impulses of
the soul, and to its desires, will be punished along with it, it is not likely
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that they will commit even the smallest sin. But if to any one it appears
sheer nonsense that the body which has moldered away, and been
dissolved, and reduced to nothing, should be reconstructed, we certainly
cannot with any reason be accused of wickedness with reference to those
that believe not, but only of folly; for with the opinions by which we
deceive ourselves we injure no one else. But that it is not our belief alone
that bodies will rise again, but that many philosophers also hold the same
view, it is out of place to show just now, lest we should be thought to
introduce topics irrelevant to the matter in hand, either by speaking of the
intelligible and the sensible, and the nature of these respectively, or by
contending that the incorporeal is older than the corporeal, and that the
intelligible precedes the sensible, although we become acquainted with the
latter earliest, since the corporeal is formed from the incorporeal, by the
combination with it of the intelligible, and that the sensible is formed from
the intelligible; for nothing hinders, according to Pythagoras and Plato, that
when the dissolution of bodies takes place, they should, from the very
same elements of which they were constructed at first, be constructed
again. But let us defer the discourse concerning the resurrection.

CHAPTER 37

ENTREATY TO BE FAIRLY JUDGED
And now do you, who are entirely in everything, by nature and by
education, upright, and moderate, and benevolent, and worthy of your
rule, now that I have disposed of the several accusations, and proved that
we are pious, and gentle, and temperate in spirit, bend your royal head in
approval. For who are more deserving to obtain the things they ask, than
those who, like us, pray for your government, that you may, as is most
equitable, receive the kingdom, son from father, and that your empire may
receive increase and addition, all men becoming subject to your sway? And
this is also for our advantage, that we may lead a peaceable and quiet life,
and may ourselves readily perform all that is commanded us.
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THE TREATISE OF
ATHENAGORAS
THE ATHENIAN, PHILOSOPHER AND CHRISTIAN,
ON THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.

CHAPTER 1

DEFENSE OF THE TRUTH SHOULD
PRECEDE DISCUSSIONS REGARDING IT.
BY the side of every opinion and doctrine which agrees with the truth of
things, there springs up some falsehood; and it does so, not because it
takes its rise naturally from some fundamental principle, or from some
cause peculiar to the matter in hand, but because it is invented on purpose
by men who set a value on the spurious seed, for its tendency to corrupt
the truth. This is apparent, in the first place, from those who in former
times addicted themselves to such inquiries, and their want of agreement
with their predecessors and contemporaries, and then, not least, from the
very confusion which marks the discussions that are now going on. For
such men have left no truth free from their calumnious attacks — not the
being of God, not His knowledge, not His operations, not those books
which follow by a regular and strict sequence from these, and delineate for
us the doctrines of piety. On the contrary, some of them utterly, and once
for all, give up in despair the truth concerning these things, and some
distort it to suit their own views, and some of set purpose doubt even of
things which are palpably evident. Hence I think that those who bestow
attention on such subjects should adopt two lines of argument, one in
defense of the truth, another concerning the truth: that in defense of the
truth, for disbelievers and doubters; that concerning the truth, for such as
are candid and receive the truth with readiness. Accordingly it behooves
those who wish to investigate these matters, to keep in view that which
the necessity of the case in each instance requires, and to regulate their
discussion by this; to accommodate the order of their treatment of these
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subjects to what is suitable to the occasion, and not for the sake of
appearing always to preserve the same method, to disregard fitness and
the place which properly belongs to each topic. For, so far as proof and
the natural order are concerned, dissertations concerning the truth always
take precedence of those in defense of it; but, for the purpose of greater
utility, the order must be reversed, and arguments in defense of it precede
those concerning it. For the farmer could not properly cast the seed into
the ground, unless he first extirpated the wild wood, and whatever would
be hurtful to the good seed; nor the physician introduce any wholesome
medicines into the body that needed his care, if he did not previously
remove the disease within, or stay that which was approaching. Neither
surely can he who wishes to teach the truth persuade any one by speaking
about it, so long as there is a false opinion lurking in the mind of his
hearers, and barring the entrance of his arguments. And, therefore, from
regard to greater utility, I myself sometimes place arguments in defense of
the truth before those concerning the truth; and on the present occasion it
appears to me, looking at the requirements of the case, not without
advantage to follow the same method in treating of the resurrection. For in
regard to this subject also we find some utterly disbelieving, and some
others doubting, and even among those who have accepted the first
principles some who are as much at a loss what to believe as those who
doubt; the most unaccountable thing of all being, that they are in this state
of mind without having any ground whatsoever in the matters themselves
for their disbelief, or finding it possible to assign any reasonable cause
why they disbelieve or experience any perplexity.

CHAPTER 2

A RESURRECTION IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE
Let us, then, consider the subject in the way I have indicated. If all
disbelief does not arise from levity and inconsideration, but if it springs up
in some minds on strong grounds and accompanied by the certainty which
belongs to truth [well and good]; for it then maintains the appearance of
being just, when the thing itself to which their disbelief relates appears to
them unworthy of belief; but to disbelieve things which are not deserving
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of disbelief, is the act of men who do not employ a sound judgment about
the truth. It behooves, therefore, those who disbelieve or doubt concerning
the resurrection, to form their opinion on the subject, not from any view
they have hastily adopted, and from what is acceptable to profligate men,
but either to assign the origin of men to no cause (a notion which is very
easily refuted), or, ascribing the cause of all things to God, to keep steadily
in view the principle involved in this article of belief, and from this to
demonstrate that the resurrection is utterly unworthy of credit. This they
will succeed in, if they are able to show that it is either impossible for
God, or contrary to His will, to unite and gather together again bodies that
are dead, or even entirely dissolved into their elements, so as to constitute
the same persons. If they cannot do this, let them cease from this godless
disbelief, and from this blasphemy against sacred things: for, that they do
not speak the truth when they say that it is impossible, or not in
accordance with the divine will, will clearly appear from what I am about
to say. A thing is in strictness of language considered impossible to a
person, when it is of such a kind that he either does not know what is to
be done, or has not sufficient power for the proper doing of the thing
known, For he who is ignorant of anything that requires to be done, is
utterly unable either to attempt or to do what he is ignorant of; and he,
too, who knows ever so well what has to be done, and by what means, and
how, but either has no power at all to do the thing known, or not power
sufficient, will not even make the attempt, if he be wise and consider his
powers; and if he did attempt it without due consideration, he would not
accomplish his purpose. But it is not possible for God to be ignorant,
either of the nature of the bodies that are to be raised, as regards both the
members entire and the particles of which they consist, or whither each of
the dissolved particles passes, and what part of the elements has received
that which is dissolved and has passed into that with which it has affinity,
although to men it may appear quite impossible that what has again
combined according to its nature with the universe should be separable
from it again. For He from whom, antecedently to the peculiar formation
of each, was not concealed either the nature of the elements of which the
bodies of men were to consist, or the parts of these from which He was
about to take what seemed to Him suitable for the formation of the human
body, will manifestly, after the dissolution of the whole, not be ignorant
whither each of the particles has passed which He took for the
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construction of each. For, viewed relatively to the order of things now
obtaining among us, and the judgment we form concerning other matters, it
is a greater thing to know beforehand that which has not yet come to pass;
but, viewed relatively to the majesty and wisdom of God, both are
according to nature, and it is equally easy to know beforehand things that
have not yet come into existence, and to know things which have been
dissolved.

CHAPTER 3

HE WHO COULD CREATE, CAN ALSO RAISE UP THE DEAD
Moreover also, that His power is sufficient for the raising of dead bodies,
is shown by the creation of these same bodies. For if, when they did not
exist, He made at their first formation the bodies of men, and their original
elements, He will, when they are dissolved, in whatever manner that may
take place, raise them again with equal ease: for this, too, is equally
possible to Him. And it is no damage to the argument, if some suppose the
first beginnings to be from matter, or the bodies of men at least to be
derived from the elements as the first materials, or from seed. For that
power which could give shape to what is regarded by them as shapeless
matter, and adorn it, when destitute of form and order, with many and
diverse forms, and gather into one the several portions of the elements, and
divide the seed which was one and simple into many, and organize that
which was unorganized, and give life to that which had no life, that same
power can reunite what is dissolved, and raise up what is prostrate, and
restore the dead to life again, and put the corruptible into a state of
incorruption. And to the same Being it will belong, and to the same power
and skill, to separate that which has been broken up and distributed among
a multitude of animals of all kinds which are wont to have recourse to such
bodies, and glut their appetite upon them, — to separate this, I say, and
unite it again with the proper members and parts of members, whether it
has passed into some one of those animals, or into many, or thence into
others, or, after being dissolved along with these, has been carried back
again to the original elements, resolved into these according to a natural law
— a matter this which seems to have exceedingly confounded some, even
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of those admired for wisdom, who, I cannot tell why, think those doubts
worthy of serious attention which are brought forward by the many.

CHAPTER 4

OBJECTION FROM THE FACT THAT SOME
HUMAN BODIES HAVE BECOME PART OF OTHERS
These persons, to wit, say that many bodies of those who have come to
an unhappy death in shipwrecks and rivers have become food for fishes,
and many of those who perish in war, or who from some other sad cause
or state of things are deprived of burial, lie exposed to become the food of
any animals which may chance to light upon them. Since, then, bodies are
thus consumed, and the members and parts composing them are broken up
and distributed among a great multitude of animals, and by means of
nutrition become incorporated with the bodies of those that are nourished
by them, — in the first place, they say, their separation from these is
impossible; and besides this, in the second place, they adduce another
circumstance more difficult still. When animals of the kind suitable for
human food, which have fed on the bodies of men, pass through their
stomach, and become incorporated with the bodies of those who have
partaken of them, it is an absolute necessity, they say, that the parts of
the bodies of men which have served as nourishment to the animals which
have partaken of them should pass into other bodies of men, since the
animals which meanwhile have been nourished by them convey the
nutriment derived from those by whom they were nourished into those
men of whom they become the nutriment. Then to this they tragically add
the devouring of offspring perpetrated by people in famine and madness,
and the children eaten by their own parents through the contrivance of
enemies, and the celebrated Median feast, and the tragic banquet of
Thyestes; and they add, moreover, other such like unheard-of occurrences
which have taken place among Greeks and barbarians: and from these
things they establish, as they suppose, the impossibility of the
resurrection, on the ground that the same parts cannot rise again with one
set of bodies, and with another as well; for that either the bodies of the
former possessors cannot be reconstituted, the parts which composed
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them having passed into others, or that, these having been restored to the
former, the bodies of the last possessors will come short.

CHAPTER 5

REFERENCE TO THE PROCESSES
OF DIGESTION AND NUTRITION
But it appears to me that such persons, in the first place, are ignorant of
the power and skill of Him that fashioned and regulates this universe, who
has adapted to the nature and kind of each animal the nourishment suitable
and correspondent to it, and has neither ordained that everything in nature
shall enter into union and combination with every kind of body, nor is at
any loss to separate what has been so united, but grants to the nature of
each several created being or thing to do or to suffer what is naturally
suited to it, and sometimes also hinders and allows or forbids whatever He
wishes, and for the purpose He wishes; and, moreover, that they have not
considered the power and nature of each of the creatures that nourish or
are nourished. Otherwise they would have known that not everything
which is taken for food under the pressure of outward necessity turns out
to be suitable nourishment for the animal, but that some things no sooner
come into contact with the plicatures of the stomach than they are wont to
be corrupted, and are vomited or voided, or disposed of in some other
way, so that not even for a little time do they undergo the first and natural
digestion, much less become incorporated with that which is to be
nourished; as also, that not even everything which has been digested in the
stomach and received the first change actually arrives at the parts to be
nourished, since some of it loses its nutritive power even in the stomach,
and some during the second change, and the digestion that takes place in
the liver is separated and passes into something else which is destitute of
the power to nourish; nay, that the change which takes place in the liver
does not all issue in nourishment to men, but the matter changed is
separated as refuse according to its natural purpose; and that the
nourishment which is left in the members and parts themselves that have
to be nourished sometimes changes to something else, according as that
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predominates which is present in greater or less, abundance, and is apt to
corrupt or to turn into itself that which comes near it.

CHAPTER 6

EVERYTHING THAT IS USELESS OR HURTFUL IS REJECTED
Since, therefore, great difference of nature obtains in all animals, and the
very nourishment which is accordant with nature is varied to suit each
kind of animal, and the body which is nourished; and as in the nourishment
of every animal there is a threefold cleansing and separation, it follows that
whatever is alien from the nourishment of the animal must be wholly
destroyed and carried off to its natural place, or change into something
else, since it cannot coalesce with it; that the power of the nourishing body
must be suitable to the nature of the animal to be nourished, and accordant
with its powers; and that this, when it has passed through the strainers
appointed for the purpose, and been thoroughly purified by the natural
means of purification, must become a most genuine addition to the
substance, — the only thing, in fact, which any one calling things by their
right names would call nourishment at all; because it rejects everything that
is foreign and hurtful to the constitution of the animal nourished and that
mass of superfluous food introduced merely for filling the stomach and
gratifying the appetite. This nourishment, no one can doubt, becomes
incorporated with the body that is nourished, interwoven and blended
with all the members and parts of members; but that which is different and
contrary to nature is speedily corrupted if brought into contact with a
stronger power, but easily destroys that which is overcome by it, and is
converted into hurtful humors and poisonous qualities, because producing
nothing akin or friendly to the body which is to be nourished. And it is a
very clear proof of this, that in many of the animals nourished, pain, or
disease, or death follows from these things, if, owing to a too keen
appetite, they take in mingled with their food something poisonous and
contrary to nature; which, of course, would tend to the utter destruction of
the body to be nourished, since that which is nourished is nourished by
substances akin to it and which accord with its nature, but is destroyed by
those of a contrary kind. If, therefore, according to the different nature of
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animals, different kinds of food have been provided suitable to their
nature, and none of that which the animal may have taken, not even an
accidental part of it, admits of being blended with the body which is
nourished, but only that part which has been purified by an entire
digestion, and undergone a complete change for union with a particular
body, and adapted to the parts which are to receive nourishment, — it is
very plain that none of the things contrary to nature can be united with
those bodies for which it is not a suitable and correspondent nourishment,
but either passes off by the bowels before it produces some other humor,
crude and corrupted; or, if it continue for a longer time, produces suffering
or disease hard to cure, destroying at the same time the natural
nourishment, or even the flesh itself which needs nourishment. But even
though it be expelled at length, overcome by certain medicines, or by better
food, or by the natural forces, it is not got rid of without doing much harm,
since it bears no peaceful aspect towards what is natural, because it cannot
coalesce with nature.

CHAPTER 7

THE RESURRECTION-BODY DIFFERENT FROM THE PRESENT
Nay, suppose we were to grant that the nourishment coming from these
things (let it be so called, as more accordant with the common way of
speaking), although against nature, is yet separated and changed into some
one of the moist or dry, or warm or cold, matters which the body contains,
our opponents would gain nothing by the concession: for the bodies that
rise again are reconstituted from the parts which properly belong to them,
whereas no one of the things mentioned is such a part, nor has it the form
or place of a part; nay, it does not remain always with the parts of the
body which are nourished, or rise again with the parts that rise, since no
longer does blood, or phlegm, or bile, or breath, contribute anything to the
life. Neither, again, will the bodies nourished then require the things they
once required, seeing that, along with the want and corruption of the
bodies nourished, the need also of those things by which they were
nourished is taken away. To this must be added, that if we were to
suppose the change arising from such nourishment to reach as far as flesh,
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in that case too there would be no necessity that the flesh recently changed
by food of that kind, if it became united to the body of some other man,
should again as a part contribute to the formation of that body, since
neither the flesh which takes it up always retains what it takes, nor does
the flesh so incorporated abide and remain with that to which it was
added, but is subject to a great variety of changes, — at one time being
dispersed by toil or care, at another time being wasted by grief or trouble
or disease, and by the distempers arising from being heated or chilled, the
humors which are changed with the flesh and fat not receiving the
nourishment so as to remain what they are. But while such are the changes
to which the flesh is subject, we should find that flesh, nourished by food
unsuited to it, suffers them in a much greater degree; now swelling out and
growing fat by what it has received, and then again rejecting it in some way
or other, and decreasing in bulk, from one or more of the causes already
mentioned; and that that alone remains in the parts which is adapted to
bind together, or cover, or warm the flesh that has been chosen by nature,
and adheres to those parts by which it sustains the life which is according
to nature, and fulfills the labors of that life. So that whether the
investigation in which we have just been engaged be fairly judged of, or the
objections urged against our position be conceded, in neither case can it be
shown that what is said by our opponents is true, nor can the bodies of
men ever combine with those of the same nature, whether at any time,
through ignorance and being cheated of their perception by some one else,
men have partaken of such a body, or of their own accord, impelled by
want or madness, they have defiled themselves with the body of one of
like form; for we are very well aware that some brutes have human forms,
or have a nature compounded of men and brutes, such as the more daring
of the poets are accustomed to represent.

CHAPTER 8

HUMAN FLESH NOT THE PROPER
OR NATURAL FOOD OF MEN
But what need is there to speak of bodies not allotted to be the food of
any animal, and destined only for a burial in the earth in honor of nature,
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since the Maker of the world has not allotted any animal whatsoever as
food to those of the same kind, although some others of a different kind
serve for food according to nature? If, indeed, they are able to show that
the flesh of men was allotted to men for food, there will be nothing to
hinder its being according to nature that they should eat one another, just
like anything else that is allowed by nature, and nothing to prohibit those
who dare to say such things from regaling themselves with the bodies of
their dearest friends as delicacies, as being especially suited to them, and to
entertain their living friends with the same fare. But if it be unlawful even
to speak of this, and if for men to partake of the flesh of men is a thing
most hateful and abominable, and more detestable than any other unlawful
and unnatural food or act; and if what is against nature can never pass into
nourishment for the limbs and parts requiring it, and what does not pass
into nourishment can never become united with that which it is not
adapted to nourish, — then can the bodies of men never combine with
bodies like themselves, to which this nourishment would be against nature,
even though it were to pass many times through their stomach, owing to
some most bitter mischance; but, removed from the influence of the
nourishing power, and scattered to those parts of the universe again from
which they obtained their first origin, they are united with these for as
long a period of time as may be the lot of each; and, separated thence again
by the skill and power of Him who has fixed the nature of every animal,
and furnished it with its peculiar powers, they are united suitably, each to
each, whether they have been burnt up by fire, or rotted by water, or
consumed by wild beasts, or by any other animals, or separated from the
entire body and dissolved before the other parts; and, being again united
with one another, they occupy the same place for the exact construction
and formation of the same body, and for the resurrection and life of that
which was dead, or even entirely dissolved. To expatiate further, however,
on these topics, is not suitable; for all men are agreed in their decision
respecting them, — those at least who are not half brutes.
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CHAPTER 9

ABSURDITY OF ARGUING FROM MAN’S IMPOTENCY
As there are many things of more importance to the inquiry before us, I
beg to be excused from replying for the present to those who take refuge in
the works of men, and even the constructors of them, who are unable to
make anew such of their works as are broken in pieces, or worn out by
time, or otherwise destroyed, and then from the analogy of potters and
carpenters attempt to show that God neither can will, nor if He willed
would be able, to raise again a body that is dead, or has been dissolved, —
not considering that by such reasoning they offer the grossest insult to
God, putting, as they do, on the same level the capabilities of things which
are altogether different, or rather the natures of those who use them, and
comparing the works of art with those of nature. To bestow any serious
attention on such arguments would be not undeserving of censure, for it is
really foolish to reply to superficial and trifling objections. It is surely far
more probable, yea, most absolutely true, to say that what is impossible
with men is possible with God. And if by this statement of itself as
probable, and by the whole investigation in which we have just been
engaged reason shows it to be possible, it is quite clear that it is not
impossible. No, nor is it such a thing as God could not will.

CHAPTER 10

IT CANNOT BE SHOWN THAT GOD
DOES NOT WILL A RESURRECTION
For that which is not accordant with His will is so either as being unjust or
as unworthy of Him. And again, the injustice regards either him who is to
rise again, or some other than he. But it is evident that no one of the beings
exterior to him, and that are reckoned among the things that have existence,
is injured. Spiritual natures (nohtai< fu>seiv) cannot be injured by the
resurrection of men, for the resurrection of men is no hindrance to their
existing, nor is any loss or violence inflicted on them by it; nor, again,
would the nature of irrational or inanimate beings sustain wrong, for they
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will have no existence after the resurrection, and no wrong can be done to
that which is not. But even if any one should suppose them to exist for
ever, they would not suffer wrong by the renewal of human bodies: for if
now, in being subservient to the nature of men and their necessities while
they require them, and subjected to the yoke and every kind of drudgery,
they suffer no wrong, much more, when men have become immortal and
free from want, and no longer need their service, and when they are
themselves liberated from bondage, will they suffer no wrong. For if they
had the gift of speech, they would not bring against the Creator the charge
of making them, contrary to justice, inferior to men because they did not
share in the same resurrection. For to creatures whose nature is not alike
the Just Being does not assign a like end. And, besides, with creatures that
have no notion of justice there can be no complaint of injustice. Nor can it
be said either that there is any injustice done as regards the man to be
raised, for he consists of soul and body, and he suffers no wrong as to
either soul or body. No person in his senses will affirm that his soul
suffers wrong, because, in speaking so, he would at the same time be
unawares reflecting on the present life also; for if now, while dwelling in a
body subject to corruption and suffering, it has had no wrong done to it
much less will it suffer wrong when living in conjunction with a body
which is free from corruption and suffering. The body, again, suffers no
wrong; for if no wrong is done to it now while united a corruptible thing
with an incorruptible, manifestly will it not be wronged when united an
incorruptible with an incorruptible. No; nor can any one say that it is a
work unworthy of God to raise up and bring together again a body which
has been dissolved: for if the worse was not unworthy of Him, namely, to
make the body which is subject to corruption and suffering, much more is
the better not unworthy, to make one not liable to corruption or suffering.

CHAPTER 11

RECAPITULATION
If, then, by means of that which is by nature first and that which follows
from it, each of the points investigated has been proved, it is very evident
that the resurrection of dissolved bodies is a work which the Creator can
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perform, and can will, and such as is worthy of Him: for by these
considerations the falsehood of the contrary opinion has been shown, and
the absurdity of the position taken by disbelievers. For why should I
speak of their correspondence each with each, and of their connection with
one another? If indeed we ought to use the word connection, as though
they were separated by some difference of nature; and not rather say, that
what God can do He can also will, and that what God can will it is
perfectly possible for Him to do, and that it is accordant with the dignity
of Him who wills it. That to discourse concerning the truth is one thing,
and to discourse in defense of it is another, has been sufficiently explained
in the remarks already made, as also in what respects they differ from each
other, and when and in dealing with whom. they are severally useful; but
perhaps there is no reason why, with a view to the general certainty, and
because of the connection of what has been said with what remains, we
should not make a fresh beginning from these same points and those which
are allied to them. To the one kind of argument it naturally pertains to hold
the foremost place, to the other to attend upon the first, and clear the way,
and to remove whatever is obstructive or hostile. The discourse concerning
the truth, as being necessary to all men for certainty and safety, holds the
first place, whether in nature, or order, or usefulness: in nature, as
furnishing the knowledge of the subject; in order, as being in those things
and along with those things which it informs us of; in usefulness, as being
a guarantee of certainty and safety to those who become acquainted with
it. The discourse in defense of the truth is inferior in nature and force, for
the refutation of falsehood is less important than the establishment of
truth; and second in order, for it employs its strength against those who
hold false opinions, and false opinions are an aftergrowth from another
sowing and from degeneration. But, notwithstanding all this, it is often
placed first, and sometimes is found more useful, because it removes and
clears away beforehand the disbelief which disquiets some minds, and the
doubt or false opinion of such as have but recently come over. And yet
each of them is referable to the same end, for the refutation of falsehood
and the establishment of truth both have piety for their object: not, indeed,
that they are absolutely one and the same, but the one is necessary, as I
have said, to all who believe, and to those who are concerned about the
truth and their own salvation; but the other proves to be more useful on
some occasions, and to some persons, and in dealing with some. Thus
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much by way of recapitulation, to recall what has been already said. We
must now pass on to what we proposed, and show the truth of the
doctrine concerning the resurrection, both from the cause itself, according
to which, and on account of which, the first man and his posterity were
created, although they were not brought into existence in the same manner,
and from the common nature of all men as men; and further, from the
judgment of their Maker upon them according to the time each has lived,
and according to the rules by which each has regulated his behavior, — a
judgment which no one can doubt will be just.

CHAPTER 12

ARGUMENT FOR THE RESURRECTION. FROM
THE PURPOSE CONTEMPLATED IN MAN’S CREATION
The argument from the cause will appear, if we consider whether man was
made at random and in vain, or for some purpose; and if for some purpose,
whether simply that he might live and continue in the natural condition in
which he was created, or for the use of another; and if with a view to use,
whether for that of the Creator Himself, or of some one of the beings who
belong to Him, and are by Him deemed worthy of greater care. Now, if we
consider this in the most general way, we find that a person of sound
mind, and who is moved by a rational judgment to do anything, does
nothing in vain which he does intentionally, but either for his own use, or
for the use of some other person for whom he cares, or for the sake of the
work itself, being moved by some natural inclination and affection towards
its production. For instance (to make use of an illustration, that our
meaning may be clear), a man makes a house for his own use, but for cattle
and camels and other animals of which he has need he makes the shelter
suitable for each of them; not for his own use, if we regard the appearance
only, though for that, if we look at the end he has in view, but as regards
the immediate object, from concern for those for whom he cares. He has
children, too, not for his own use, nor for the sake of anything else
belonging to him, but that those who spring from him may exist and
continue as long as possible, thus by the succession of children and
grandchildren comforting himself respecting the close of his own life, and
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hoping in this way to immortalize the mortal. Such is the procedure of
men. But God can neither have made man in vain, for He is wise, and no
work of wisdom is in vain; nor for His own use, for He is in want of
nothing. But to a Being absolutely in need of nothing, no one of His works
can contribute anything to His own use. Neither, again, did He make man
for the sake of any of the other works which He has made. For nothing
that is endowed with reason and judgment has been created, or is created,
for the use of another, whether greater or less than itself, but for the sake
of the life and continuance of the being itself so created. For reason cannot
discover any use which might be deemed a cause for the creation of men,
since immortals are free from want, and in need of no help from men in
order to their existence; and irrational beings are by nature in a state of
subjection, and perform those services for men for which each of them was
intended, but are not intended in their turn to make use of men: for it
neither was nor is right to lower that which rules and takes the lead to the
use of the inferior, or to subject the rational to the irrational, which is not
suited to rule. Therefore, if man has been created neither without cause and
in vain (for none of God’s works is in vain, so far at least as the purpose
of their Maker is concerned), nor for the use of the Maker Himself, or of
any of the works which have proceeded from Him, it is quite clear that
although, according to the first and more general view of the subject, God
made man for Himself, and in pursuance of the goodness and wisdom
which are conspicuous throughout the creation, yet, according to the view
which more nearly touches the beings created, He made him for the sake of
the life of those created, which is not kindled for a little while and then
extinguished. For to creeping things, I suppose, and birds, and fishes, or,
to speak more generally, all irrational creatures, God has assigned such a
life as that; but to those who bear upon them the image of the Creator
Himself, and are endowed with understanding, and blessed with a rational
judgment, the Creator has assigned perpetual duration, in order that,
recognizing their own Maker, and His power and skill, and obeying law
and justice, they may pass their whole existence free from suffering, in the
possession of those qualifies with which they have bravely borne their
preceding life, although they lived in corruptible and earthly bodies. For
whatever has been created for the sake of something else, when that has
ceased to be for the sake of which it was created, will itself also fitly cease
to be, and will not continue to exist in vain, since, among the works of
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God, that which is useless can have no place; but that which was created
for the very purpose of existing and living a life naturally suited to it, since
the cause itself is bound up with its nature, and is recognized only in
connection with existence itself, can never admit of any cause which shall
utterly annihilate its existence. But since this cause is seen to lie in
perpetual existence, the being so created must be preserved for ever, doing
and experiencing what is suitable to its nature, each of the two parts of
which it consists contributing what belongs to it, so that the soul may
exist and remain without change in the nature in which it was made, and
discharge its appropriate functions (such as presiding over the impulses of
the body, and judging of and measuring that which occurs from time to
time by the proper standards and measures), and the body be moved
according to its nature towards its appropriate objects, and undergo the
changes allotted to it, and, among the rest (relating to age, or appearance,
or size), the resurrection. For the resurrection is a species of change, and
the last of all, and a change for the better of what still remains in existence
at that time.

CHAPTER 13

CONTINUATION OF THE ARGUMENT
Confident of these things, no less than of those which have already come
to pass, and reflecting on our own nature, we are content with a life
associated with neediness and corruption, as suited to our present state of
existence, and we steadfastly hope for a continuance of being in
immortality; and this we do not take without foundation from the
inventions of men, feeding ourselves on false hopes, but our belief rests on
a most infallible guarantee — the purpose of Him who fashioned us,
according to which He made man of an immortal soul and a body, and
furnished him with understanding and an innate law for the preservation
and safeguard of the things given by Him as suitable to an intelligent
existence and a rational life: for we know well that He would not have
fashioned such a being, and furnished him with everything belonging to
perpetuity, had He not intended that what was so created should continue
in perpetuity. If, therefore, the Maker of this universe made man with a
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view to his partaking of an intelligent life, and that, having become a
spectator of His grandeur, and of the wisdom which is manifest in all
things, he might continue always in the contemplation of these; then,
according to the purpose of his Author, and the nature which he has
received, the cause of his creation is a pledge of his continuance for ever,
and this continuance is a pledge of the resurrection, without which man
could not continue. So that, from what has been said, it is quite clear that
the resurrection is plainly proved by the cause of man’s creation, and the
purpose of Him who made him. Such being the nature of the cause for
which man has been brought into this world, the next thing will be to
consider that which immediately follows, naturally or in the order
proposed; and in our investigation the cause of their creation is followed
by the nature of the men so created, and the nature of those created by the
just judgment of their Maker upon them, and all these by the end of their
existence. Having investigated therefore the point placed first in order, we
must now go on to consider the nature of men.

CHAPTER 14

THE RESURRECTION DOES NOT REST SOLELY
ON THE FACT OF A FUTURE JUDGMENT
The proof of the several doctrines of which the truth consists, or of any
matters whatsoever proposed for examination, if it is to produce an
unwavering confidence in what is said, must begin, not from anything
without, nor from what certain persons think or have thought, but from
the common and natural notion of the matter, or from the connection of
secondary truths with primary ones. For the question relates either to
primary beliefs, and then all that is necessary is reminiscence, so as to stir
up the natural notion; or to things which naturally follow from the first
and to their natural sequence. And in these things we must observe order,
showing what strictly follows from the first truths, or from those which
are placed first, so as neither to be unmindful of the truth, or of our
certainty respecting it, nor to confound the things arranged by nature and
distinguished from each other, or break up the natural order. Hence I think
it behooves those who desire to handle the subject with fairness, and who
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wish to form an intelligent judgment whether there is a resurrection or not,
first to consider attentively the force of the arguments contributing to the
proof of this, and what place each of them holds — which is first, which
second, which third, and which last. And in the arrangement of these they
should place first the cause of the creation of men, — namely, the purpose
of the Creator in making man; and then connect with this, as is suitable,
the nature of the men so created; not as being second in order, but because
we are unable to pass our judgment on both at the same time, although
they have the closest natural connection with each other, and are of equal
force in reference to the subject before us. But while from these proofs as
the primary ones, and as being derived from the work of creation, the
resurrection is clearly demonstrated, none the less can we gain conviction
respecting it from the arguments taken from providence, — I mean from
the reward or punishment due to each man in accordance with just
judgment, and from the end of human existence. For many, in discussing
the subject of the resurrection, have rested the whole cause on the third
argument alone, deeming that the cause of the resurrection is the judgment.
But the fallacy of this is very clearly shown, from the fact that, although
all human beings who die rise again, yet not all who rise again are to be
judged: for if only a just judgment were the cause of the resurrection, it
would of course follow that those who had done neither evil nor good —
namely, very young children — would not rise again; but seeing that all are
to rise again, those who have died in infancy as well as others, they too
justify our conclusion that the resurrection takes place not for the sake of
the judgment as the primary reason, but in consequence of the purpose of
God in forming men, and the nature of the beings so formed.

CHAPTER 15

ARGUMENT FOR THE RESURRECTION
FROM THE NATURE OF MAN
But while the cause discoverable in the creation of men is of itself
sufficient to prove that the resurrection follows by natural sequence on the
dissolution of bodies, yet it is perhaps right not to shrink from adducing
either of the proposed arguments, but, agreeably to what has been said, to
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point out to those who are not able of themselves to discern them, the
arguments from each of the truths evolved from the primary; and first and
foremost, the nature of the men created, which conducts us to the same
notion, and has the same force as evidence of the resurrection. For if the
whole nature of men in general is composed of an immortal soul and a
body which was fitted to it in the creation, and if neither to the nature of
the soul by itself, nor to the nature of the body separately, has God
assigned such a creation or such a life and entire course of existence as this,
but to men compounded of the two, in order that they may, when they
have passed through their present existence, arrive at one common end,
with the same elements of which they are composed at their birth and
during life, it unavoidably follows, since one living-being is formed from
the two, experiencing whatever the soul experiences and whatever the
body experiences, doing and performing whatever requires the judgment of
the senses or of the reason, that the whole series of these things must be
referred to some one end, in order that they all, and by means of all,
namely, man’s creation, man’s nature, man’s life, man’s doings and
sufferings, his course of existence, and the end suitable to his nature, —
may concur in one harmony and the same common experience. But if there
is some one harmony and community of experience belonging to the whole
being, whether of the things which spring from the soul or of those which
are accomplished by means of the body, the end for all these must also be
one. And the end will be in strictness one, if the being whose end that end
is remains the same in its constitution; and the being will be exactly the
same, if all those things of which the being consists as parts are the same.
And they will be the same in respect of their peculiar union, if the parts
dissolved are again united for the constitution of the being. And the
constitution of the same men of necessity proves that a resurrection will
follow of the dead and dissolved bodies; for without this, neither could the
same parts be united according to nature with one another, nor could the
nature of the same men be reconstituted. And if both understanding and
reason have been given to men for the discernment of things which are
perceived by the understanding, and not of existences only, but also of the
goodness and wisdom and rectitude of their Giver, it necessarily follows
that, since those things continue for the sake of which the rational
judgment is given, the judgment given for these things should also
continue. But it is impossible for this to continue, unless the nature which
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has received it, and in which it adheres, continues. But that which has
received both understanding and reason is man, not the soul by itself.
Man, therefore, who consists of the two parts, must continue for ever.
But it is impossible for him to continue unless he rise again. For if no
resurrection were to take place, the nature of men as men would not
continue. And if the nature of men does not continue, in vain has the soul
been fitted to the need of the body and to its experiences; in vain has the
body been fettered so that it cannot obtain what it longs for, obedient to
the reins of the soul, and guided by it as with a bridle; in vain is the
understanding, in vain is wisdom, and the observance of rectitude, or even
the practice of every virtue, and the enactment and enforcement of laws,
— to say all in a word, whatever is noble in men or for men’s sake, or
rather the very creation and nature of men. But if vanity is utterly
excluded from all the works of God, and from all the gifts bestowed by
Him, the conclusion is unavoidable, that, along with the interminable
duration of the soul, there will be a perpetual continuance of the body
according to its proper nature.

CHAPTER 16

ANALOGY OF DEATH AND SLEEP, AND CONSEQUENT
ARGUMENT FOR THE RESURRECTION
And let no one think it strange that we call by the name of life a
continuance of being which is interrupted by death and corruption; but let
him consider rather that this word has not one meaning only, nor is there
only one measure of continuance, because the nature also of the things that
continue is not one. For if each of the things that continue has its
continuance according to its peculiar nature, neither in the case of those
who are wholly incorruptible and immortal shall we find the continuance
like ours, because the natures of superior beings do not take the level of
such as are inferior; nor in men is it proper to look for a continuance
invariable and unchangeable; inasmuch as the former are from the first
created immortal, and continue to exist without end by the simple will of
their Maker, and men, in respect of the soul, have from their first origin an
unchangeable continuance, but in respect of the body obtain immortality
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by means of change. This is what is meant by the doctrine of the
resurrection; and, looking to this, we both await the dissolution of the
body, as the sequel to a life of want and corruption, and after this we hope
for a continuance with immortality, not putting either our death on a level
with the death of the irrational animals, or the continuance of man with the
continuance of immortals, lest we should unawares in this way put human
nature and life on a level with things with which it is not proper to
compare them. It ought not, therefore, to excite dissatisfaction, if some
inequality appears to exist in regard to the duration of men; nor, because
the separation of the soul from the members of the body and the
dissolution of its parts interrupts the continuity of life, must we therefore
despair of the resurrection. For although the relaxation of the senses and of
the physical powers, which naturally takes place in sleep, seems to
interrupt the sensational life when men sleep at equal intervals of time,
and, as it were, come back to life again, yet we do not refuse to call it life;
and for this reason, I suppose, some call sleep the brother of death, not as
deriving their origin from the same ancestors and fathers, but because those
who are dead and those who sleep are subject to similar states, as regards
at least the stillness and the absence of all sense of the present or the past,
or rather of existence itself and their own life. If, therefore, we do not
refuse to call by the name of life the life of men full of such inequality
from birth to dissolution, and interrupted by all those things which we
have before mentioned, neither ought we to despair of the life succeeding
to dissolution, such as involves the resurrection, although for a time it is
interrupted by the separation of the soul from the body.

CHAPTER 17

THE SERIES OF CHANGES WE CAN NOW TRACE IN MAN
RENDERS A RESURRECTION PROBABLE
For this nature of men, which has inequality allotted to it from the first,
and according to the purpose of its Maker, has an unequal life and
continuance, interrupted sometimes by sleep, at another time by death,
and by the changes incident to each period of life, whilst those which
follow the first are not clearly seen beforehand. Would any one have
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believed, unless taught by experience, that in the soft seed alike in all its
parts there was deposited such a variety and number of great powers, or
of masses, which in this way arise and become consolidated — I mean of
bones, and nerves, and cartilages, of muscles too, and flesh, and intestines,
and the other parts of the body? For neither in the yet moist seed is
anything of this kind to be seen, nor even in infants do any of those things
make their appearance which pertain to adults, or in the adult period what
belongs to those who are past their prime, or in these what belongs to such
as have grown old. But although some of the things I have said exhibit not
at all, and others but faintly, the natural sequence and the changes that
come upon the nature of men, yet all who are not blinded in their judgment
of these matters by vice or sloth, know that there must be first the
depositing of the seed, and that when this is completely organized in
respect of every member and part and the progeny comes forth to the
light, there comes the growth belonging to the first period of life, and the
maturity which attends growth, and after the maturity the slackening of
the physical powers till old age, and then, when the body is worn out, its
dissolution. As, therefore, in this matter, though neither the seed has
inscribed upon it the life or form of men, nor the life the dissolution into
the primary elements; the succession of natural occurrences makes things
credible which have no credibility from the phenomena themselves, much
more does reason, tracing out the truth from the natural sequence, afford
ground for believing in the resurrection, since it is safer and stronger than
experience for establishing the truth.

CHAPTER 18

JUDGMENT MUST HAVE REFERENCE BOTH TO SOUL AND
BODY: THERE WILL THEREFORE BE A RESURRECTION
The arguments I just now proposed for examination, as establishing the
truth of the resurrection, are all of the same kind, since they all start from
the same point; for their starting-point is the origin of the first men by
creation. But while some of them derive their strength from the starting-
point itself from which they take their rise, others, consequent upon the
nature and the life of men, acquire their credibility from the
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superintendence of God over us; for the cause according to which, and on
account of which, men have come into being, being closely connected with
the nature of men, derives its force from creation; but the argument from
rectitude, which represents God as judging men according as they have
lived well or ill, derives its force from the end of their existence: they come
into being on the former ground, but their state depends more on God’s
superintendence. And now that the matters which come first have been
demonstrated by me to the best of my ability, it will be well to prove our
proposition by those also which come after — I mean by the reward or
punishment due to each man in accordance with righteous judgment, and
by the final cause of human existence; and of these I put foremost that
which takes the lead by nature, and inquire first into the argument relating
to the judgment: premising only one thing, from concern for the principle
which appertains to the matters before us, and for order — namely, that it
is incumbent on those who admit God to be the Maker of this universe, to
ascribe to His wisdom and rectitude the preservation and care of all that
has been created if they wish to keep to their own principles; and with
such views to hold that nothing either in earth or in heaven is without
guardianship or providence, but that; on the contrary, to everything,
invisible and visible alike, small and great, the attention of the Creator
reaches; for all created things require the attention of the Creator, and each
one in particular, according to its nature and the end for which it was
made: though I think it would be a useless expenditure of trouble to go
through the list now, or distinguish between the several cases, or mention
in detail what is suitable to each nature. Man, at all events, of whom it is
now our business to speak, as being in want, requires food; as being
mortal, posterity; as being rational, a process of judgment. But if each of
these things belongs to man by nature, and he requires food for his life, and
requires posterity for the continuance of the race, and requires a judgment
in order that food and posterity may be according to law, it of course
follows, since food and posterity refer to both together, that the judgment
must be referred to them too (by both together I mean man, consisting of
soul and body), and that such man becomes accountable for all his actions,
and receives for them either reward or punishment. Now, if the righteous
judgment awards to both together its retribution for the deeds wrought;
and if it is not proper that either the soul alone should receive the wages of
the deeds wrought in union with the body (for this of itself has no
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inclination to the faults which are committed in connection with the
pleasure or food and culture of the body), or that the body alone should
(for this of itself is incapable of distinguishing law and justice), but man,
composed of these, is subjected to trial for each of the deeds wrought by
him; and if reason does not find this happening either in this life (for the
award according to merit finds no place in the present existence, since
many atheists and persons who practice every iniquity and wickedness
live on to the last, unvisited by calamity, whilst, on the contrary, those
who have manifestly lived an exemplary life in respect of every virtue, live
in pain, in insult, in calumny and outrage, and suffering of all kinds) or
after death (for both together no longer exist, the soul being separated from
the body, and the body itself being resolved again into the materials out of
which it was composed, and no longer retaining anything of its former
structure or form, much less the remembrance of its actions): the result of
all this is very plain to every one, — namely, that, in the language of the
apostle, “this corruptible (and dissoluble) must put on incorruption,” in
order that those who were dead, having been made alive by the
resurrection, and the parts that were separated and entirely dissolved
having been again united, each one may, in accordance with justice, receive
what he has done by the body, whether it be good or bad.

CHAPTER 19

MAN WOULD BE MORE UNFAVORABLY SITUATED THAN
THE BEASTS IF THERE WERE NO RESURRECTION
In replying, then, to those who acknowledge a divine superintendence, and
admit the same principles as we do, yet somehow depart from their own
admissions, one may use such arguments as those which have been
adduced, and many more than these, should he be disposed to amplify
what has been said only concisely and in a cursory manner. But in dealing
with those who differ from us concerning primary truths, it will perhaps
be well to lay down another principle antecedent to these, joining with
them in doubting of the things to which their opinions relate, and
examining the matter along with them in this manner — whether the life of
men, and their entire course of existence, is overlooked, and a sort of dense
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darkness is poured down upon the earth, hiding in ignorance and silence
both the men themselves and their actions; or whether it is much safer to
be of opinion that the Maker presides over the things which He Himself
has made, inspecting all things whatsoever which exist, or come into
existence, Judge of both deeds and purposes. For if no judgment whatever
were to be passed on the actions of men, men would have no advantage
over the irrational creatures, but rather would fare worse than these do,
inasmuch as they keep in subjection their passions, and concern
themselves about piety, and righteousness, and the other virtues; and a life
after the manner of brutes would be the best, virtue would be absurd, the
threat of judgment a matter for broad laughter, indulgence in every kind of
pleasure the highest good, and the common resolve of all these and their
one law would be that maxim, so dear to the intemperate and lewd, “Let us
eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” For the termination of such a life is
not even pleasure, as some suppose, but utter insensibility. But if the
Maker of men takes any concern about His own works, and the distinction
is anywhere to be found between those who have lived well and ill, it must
be either in the present life, while men are still living who have conducted
themselves virtuously or viciously, or after death, when men are in a state
of separation and dissolution. But according to neither of these
suppositions can we find a just judgment taking place; for neither do the
good in the present life obtain the rewards of virtue, nor yet do the bad
receive the wages of vice. I pass over the fact, that so long as the nature we
at present possess is preserved, the moral nature is not able to bear a
punishment commensurate with the more numerous or more serious faults.
For the robber, or ruler, or tyrant, who has unjustly put to death myriads
on myriads, could not by one death make restitution for these deeds; and
the man who holds no true opinion concerning God, but lives in all outrage
and blasphemy, despises divine things, breaks the laws, commits outrage
against boys and women alike, razes cities unjustly, burns houses with
their inhabitants, and devastates a country, and at the same time destroys
inhabitants of cities and peoples, and even an entire nation — how in a
mortal body could he endure a penalty adequate to these crimes, since
death prevents the deserved punishment, and the mortal nature does not
suffice for any single one of his deeds? It is proved, therefore, that neither
in the present life is there a judgment according to men’s deserts, nor after
death.
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CHAPTER 20

MAN MUST BE POSSESSED BOTH OF A BODY
AND SOUL HEREAFTER, THAT THE JUDGMENT
PASSED UPON HIM MAY BE JUST
For either death is the entire extinction of life, the soul being dissolved and
corrupted along with the body, or the soul remains by itself, incapable of
dissolution, of dispersion, of corruption, whilst the body is corrupted and
dissolved, retaining no longer any remembrance of past actions, nor sense
of what it experienced in connection with the soul. If the life of men is to
be utterly extinguished, it is manifest there will be no care for men who are
not living, no judgment respecting those who have lived in virtue or in vice;
but there will rush in again upon us whatever belongs to a lawless life, and
the swarm of absurdities which follow from it, and that which is the
summit of this lawlessness — atheism. But if the body were to be
corrupted, and each of the dissolved particles to pass to its kindred
element, yet the soul to remain by itself as immortal, neither on this
supposition would any judgment on the soul take place, since there would
be an absence of equity: for it is unlawful to suspect that any judgment
can proceed out of God and from God which is wanting in equity. Yet
equity is wanting to the judgment, if the being is not preserved in existence
who practiced righteousness or lawlessness: for that which practiced each
of the things in life on which the judgment is passed was man, not soul by
itself. To sum up all in a word, this view will in no case consist with
equity.

CHAPTER 21

CONTINUATION OF THE ARGUMENT
For if good deeds are rewarded, the body will clearly be wronged,
inasmuch as it has shared with the soul in the toils connected with well-
doing, but does not share in the reward of the good deeds, and because,
though the soul is often excused for certain faults on the ground of the
body’s neediness and want, the body itself is deprived of all share in the
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good deeds done, the toils on behalf of which it helped to bear during life.
Nor, again, if faults are judged, is the soul dealt fairly with, supposing it
alone to pay the penalty for the faults it committed through being solicited
by the body and drawn away by it to its own appetites and motions, at
one time being seized upon and carried off, at another attracted in some
very violent manner, and sometimes concurring with it by way of kindness
and attention to its preservation. How can it possibly be other than unjust
for the soul to be judged by itself in respect of things towards which in its
own nature it feels no appetite, no motion, no impulse, such as
licentiousness, violence, covetousness, injustice, and the unjust acts arising
out of these? For if the majority of such evils come from men’s not having
the mastery of the passions which solicit them, and they are solicited by
the neediness and want of the body, and the care and attention required by
it (for these are the motives for every acquisition of property, and
especially for the using of it, and moreover for marriage and all the actions
of life, in which things, and in connection with which, is seen what is
faulty and what is not so), how can it be just for the soul alone to be
judged in respect of those things which the body is the first to be sensible
of, and in which it draws the soul away to sympathy and participation in
actions with a view to things which it wants; and that the appetites and
pleasures, and moreover the fears and sorrows, in which whatever exceeds
the proper bounds is amenable to judgment, should be set in motion by the
body, and yet that the sins arising from these, and the punishments for the
sins committed, should fall upon the soul alone, which neither needs
anything of this sort, nor desires nor fears or suffers of itself any such
thing as man is wont to suffer? But even if we hold that these affections
do not pertain to the body alone, but to man, in saying which we should
speak correctly, because the life of man is one, though composed of the
two, yet surely we shall not assert that these things belong to the soul, if
we only look simply at its peculiar nature. For if it is absolutely without
need of food, it can never desire those things which it does not in the least
require for its subsistence; nor can it feel any impulse towards any of
those things which it is not at all fitted to use; nor, again, can it be grieved
at the want of money or other property, since these are not suited to it.
And if, too, it is superior to corruption, it fears nothing whatever as
destructive of itself: it has no dread of famine, or disease, or mutilation, or
blemish, or fire, or sword, since it cannot suffer from any of these any hurt
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or pain, because neither bodies nor bodily powers touch it at all. But if it
is absurd to attach the passions to the soul as belonging specially to it, it is
in the highest degree unjust and unworthy of the judgment of God to lay
upon the soul alone the sins which spring from them, and the consequent
punishments.

CHAPTER 22

CONTINUATION OF THE ARGUMENT
In addition to what has been said, is it not absurd that, while we cannot
even have the notion of virtue and vice as existing separately in the soul
(for we recognize the virtues as man’s virtues, even as in like manner vice,
their opposite, as not belonging to the soul in separation from the body,
and existing by itself), yet that the reward or punishment for these should
be assigned to the soul alone? How can any one have even the notion of
courage or fortitude as existing in the soul alone, when it has no fear of
death, or wounds, or maiming, or loss, or maltreatment, or of the pain
connected with these, or the suffering resulting from them? And what shall
we say of self-control and temperance, when there is no desire drawing it
to food or sexual intercourse, or other pleasures and enjoyments, nor any
other thing soliciting it from within or exciting it from without? And what
of practical wisdom, when things are not proposed to it which may or
may not be done, nor things to be chosen or avoided, or rather when there
is in it no motion at all or natural impulse towards the doing of anything?
And how in any sense can equity be an attribute of souls, either in
reference to one another or to anything else, whether of the same or of a
different kind, when they are not able from any source, or by any means,
or in any way, to bestow that which is equal according to merit or
according to analogy, with the exception of the honor rendered to God,
and, moreover, have no impulse or motion towards the use of their own
things, or abstinence from those of others, since the use of those things
which are according to nature, or the abstinence from them, is considered
in reference to those who are so constituted as to use them, whereas the
soul neither wants anything, nor is so constituted as to use any things or
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any single thing, and therefore what is called the independent action of the
parts cannot be found in the soul so constituted?

CHAPTER 23

CONTINUATION OF THE ARGUMENT
But the most irrational thing of all is this: to impose properly sanctioned
laws on men, and then to assign to their souls alone the recompense of
their lawful or unlawful deeds. For if he who receives the laws would also
justly receive the recompense of the transgression of the laws, and if it
was man that received the laws, and not the soul by itself, man must also
bear the recompense for the sins committed, and not the soul by itself,
since God has not enjoined on souls to abstain from things which have no
relation to them, such as adultery, murder, theft, rapine, dishonor to
parents, and every desire in general that tends to the injury and loss of our
neighbors. For neither the command, “Honor thy father and thy mother,”
is adapted to souls alone, since such names are not applicable to them, for
souls do not produce souls, so as to appropriate the appellation of father
or mother, but men produce men; nor could the command, “Thou shalt not
commit adultery,” ever be properly addressed to souls, or even thought of
in such a connection, since the difference of male and female does not exist
in them, nor any aptitude for sexual intercourse, nor appetite for it; and
where there is no appetite, there can be no intercourse; and where there is
no intercourse at all, there can be no legitimate intercourse, namely
marriage; and where there is no lawful intercourse, neither can there be
unlawful desire of, or intercourse with, another man’s wife, namely
adultery. Nor, again, is the prohibition of theft, or of the desire of having
more, applicable to souls, for they do not need those things, through the
need of which, by reason of natural indigence or want, men are accustomed
to steal or to rob, such as gold, or silver, or an animal, or something else
adapted for food, or shelter, or use; for to an immortal nature everything
which is desired by the needy as useful is useless. But let the fuller
discussion of these matters be left to those who wish to investigate each
point more exactly, or to contend more earnestly with opponents. But,
since what has just been said, and that which concurs with this to
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guarantee the resurrection, suffices for us, it would not be seasonable to
dwell any longer upon them; for we have not made it our aim to omit
nothing that might be said, but to point out in a summary manner to those
who have assembled what ought to be thought concerning the resurrection,
and to adapt to the capacity of those present the arguments bearing on this
question.

CHAPTER 24

ARGUMENT FOR THE RESURRECTION
FROM THE CHIEF END OF MAN
The points proposed for consideration having been to some extent
investigated, it remains to examine the argument from the end or final
cause, which indeed has already emerged in what has been said, and only
requires just so much attention and further discussion as may enable us to
avoid the appearance of leaving unmentioned any of the matters briefly
referred to by us, and thus indirectly damaging the subject or the division
of topics made at the outset. For the sake of those present, therefore, and
of others who may pay attention to this subject, it may be well just to
signify that each of those things which are constituted by nature, and of
those which are made by art, must have an end peculiar to itself, as indeed
is taught us by the common sense of all men, and testified by the things
that pass before our eyes. For do we not see that husbandmen have one
end, and physicians another; and again, the things which spring out of the
earth another, and the animals nourished upon it, and produced according
to a certain natural series, another? If this is evident, and natural and
artificial powers, and the actions arising from these, must by all means be
accompanied by an end in accordance with nature, it is absolutely
necessary that the end of men, since it is that of a peculiar nature, should
be separated from community with the rest; for it is not lawful to suppose
the same end for beings destitute of rational judgment, and of those whose
actions are regulated by the innate law and reason, and who live an
intelligent life and observe justice. Freedom from pain, therefore, cannot be
the proper end for the latter, for this they would have in common with
beings utterly devoid of sensibility: nor can it consist in the enjoyment of
316
things which nourish or delight the body, or in an abundance of pleasures;
else a life like that of the brutes must hold the first place, while that
regulated by virtue is without a final cause. For such an end as this, I
suppose, belongs to beasts and cattle, not to men possessed of an
immortal soul and rational judgment.

CHAPTER 25

ARGUMENT CONTINUED AND CONCLUDED
Nor again is it the happiness of soul separated from body: for we are not
inquiring about the life or final cause of either of the parts of which man
consists, but of the being who is composed of both; for such is every man
who has a share in this present existence, and there must be some
appropriate end proposed for this life. But if it is the end of both parts
together, and this can be discovered neither while they are still living in the
present state of existence through the numerous causes already mentioned,
nor yet when the soul is in a state of separation, because the man cannot
be said to exist when the body is dissolved, and indeed entirely scattered
abroad, even though the soul continue by itself — it is absolutely
necessary that the end of a man’s being should appear in some
reconstitution of the two together, and of the same living being. And as
this follows of necessity, there must by all means be a resurrection of the
bodies which are dead, or even entirely dissolved, and the same men must
be formed anew, since the law of nature ordains the end not absolutely,
nor as the end of any men whatsoever, but of the same men who passed
through the previous life; but it is impossible for the same men to be
reconstituted unless the same bodies are restored to the same souls. But
that the same soul should obtain the same body is impossible in any other
way, and possible only by the resurrection; for if this takes place, an end
befitting the nature of men follows also. And we shall make no mistake in
saying, that the final cause of an intelligent life and rational judgment, is to
be occupied uninterruptedly with those objects to which the natural
reason is chiefly and primarily adapted, and to delight unceasingly in the
contemplation of Him who is, and of His decrees, notwithstanding that the
majority of men, because they are affected too passionately and too
317
violently by things below, pass through life without attaining this object.
For the large number of those who fail of the end that belongs to them
does not make void the common lot, since the examination relates to
individuals, and the reward or punishment of lives ill or well spent is
proportioned to the merit of each.
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CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
INTRODUCTORY NOTE

TO

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA

[A.D. 153-193-217] The second century of illumination is drawing to a
close, as the great name of this Father comes into view, and introduces us
to a new stage of the Church’s progress. From Britain to the Ganges it had
already made its mark. In all its Oriental identity, we have found it
vigorous in Gaul and penetrating to other regions of the West. From its
primitive base on the Orontes, it has extended itself to the deltas of the
Nile; and the Alexandria of Apollos and of St. Mark has become the
earliest seat of Christian learning. There, already, have the catechetical
schools gathered the finest intellectual trophies of the Cross; and under the
aliment of its library springs up something like a Christian university.
Pantaenus, “the Sicilian bee” from the flowery fields of Enna, comes to
frame it by his industry, and store it with the sweets of his eloquence and
wisdom. Clement, who had followed Tatian to the East, tracks Pantaenus
to Egypt, and comes with his Attic scholarship to be his pupil in the
school of Christ. After Justin and Irenaeus, he is to be reckoned the
founder of Christian literature; and it is noteworthy how sublimely he
begins to treat Paganism as a creed outworn, to be dismissed with
contempt, rather than seriously wrestled with any longer.
His merciless exposure of the entire system of “lords many and gods
many,” seems to us, indeed, unnecessarily offensive. Why not spare us
such details? But let us reflect, that, if such are our Christian instincts of
delicacy, we owe it to this great reformer in no small proportion. For not
content to show the Pagans that the very atmosphere was polluted by
their mythologies, so that Christians, turn which way they would, must
encounter pestilence, he becomes the ethical philosopher of Christians;
319
and while he proceeds to dictate, even in minute details, the
transformations to which the faithful must subject themselves in order “to
escape the pollutions of the world,” he sketches in outline the
reformations which the Gospel imposes on society, and which nothing but
the Gospel has ever enabled mankind to realize. “For with a celerity
unsurpassable, and a benevolence to which we have ready access,” says
Clement, “the Divine Power hath filled the universe with the seed of
salvation.” Socrates and Plato had talked sublimely four hundred years
before; but Lust and Murder were yet the gods of Greece, and men and
women were like what they worshipped. Clement had been their disciple;
but now, as the disciple of Christ, he was to exert a power over men and
manners, of which they never dreamed.
Alexandria becomes the brain of Christendom: its heart was yet beating at
Antioch, but the West was still receptive only, its hands and arms
stretched forth towards the sunrise for further enlightenment. From the
East it had obtained the Scriptures and their authentication, and from the
same source was deriving the canons, the liturgies, and the creed of
Christendom. The universal language of Christians is Greek. To a pagan
emperor who had outgrown the ideas of Nero’s time, it was no longer
Judaism; but it was not less an Oriental superstition, essentially Greek in
its features and its dress. “All the churches of the West,” says the
historian of Latin Christianity, “were Greek religious colonies. Their
language was Greek, their organization Greek, their writers Greek, their
Scriptures and their ritual were Greek. Through Greek, the
communications of the churches of the West were constantly kept up with
the East.... Thus the Church at Rome was but one of a confederation of
Greek religious republics founded by Christianity.” Now this
confederation was the Holy Catholic Church.
Every Christian must recognize the career of Alexander, and the history of
his empire, as an immediate precursor of the Gospel. The patronage of
letters by the Ptolemies at Alexandria, the translation of the Hebrew
Scriptures into the dialect of the Hellenes, the creation of a new
terminology in the language of the Greeks, by which ideas of faith and of
truth might find access to the mind of a heathen world, — these were
preliminaries to the preaching of the Gospel to mankind, and to the
composition of the New Testament of our Lord and Savior. He Himself
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had prophetically visited Egypt, and the idols were now to be removed
before his presence. There a powerful Christian school was to make itself
felt for ever in the definitions of orthodoxy; and in a new sense was that
prophecy to be understood, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.”
The genius of Apollos was revived in his native city. A succession of
doctors was there to arise, like him, “eloquent men, and mighty in the
Scriptures.” Clement tells us of his masters in Christ, and how, coming to
Pantaenus, his soul was filled with a deathless element of divine
knowledge. He speaks of the apostolic tradition as received through his
teachers hardly at second-hand. He met in that school, no doubt, some, at
least, who recalled Ignatius and Polycarp; some, perhaps, who as children
had heard St. John when he could only exhort his congregations to “love
one another.” He could afterwards speak of himself as in the next
succession after the apostles.
He became the successor of Pantaenus in the catechetical school, and had
Origen for his pupil, with other eminent men. He was also ordained a
presbyter. He seems to have compiled his Stromata in the reigns of
Commodus and Severus. If, at this time, he was about forty years of age,
as seems likely, we must conceive of his birth at Athens, while Antoninus
Pius was emperor, while Polycarp was yet living, and while Justin and
Irenaeus were in their prime.
Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, speaks of Clement, in turn, as his master:
“for we acknowledge as fathers those blessed saints who are gone before
us, and to whom we shall go after a little time; the truly blest Pantaenus, I
mean, and the holy Clemens, my teacher, who was to me so greatly useful
and helpful.” St. Cyril of Alexandria calls him “a man admirably learned
and skillful, and one that searched to the depths all the learning of the
Greeks, with an exactness rarely attained before.” So Theodoret says, “He
surpassed all others, and was a holy man.” St. Jerome pronounces him the
most learned of all the ancients; while Eusebius testifies to his theological
attainments, and applauds him as an “incomparable master of Christian
philosophy.” But the rest shall be narrated by our translator, Mr. Wilson.
The following is the original INTRODUCTORY NOTICE : —
321
T ITUS FLAVIUS CLEMENS, the illustrious head of the Catechetical School at
Alexandria at the close of the second century, was originally a pagan
philosopher. The date of his birth is unknown. It is also uncertain whether
Alexandria or Athens was his birthplace.
On embracing Christianity, he eagerly sought the instructions of its most
eminent teachers; for this purpose traveling extensively over Greece, Italy,
Egypt, Palestine, and other regions of the East. Only one of these teachers
(who, from a reference in the Stromata, all appear to have been alive when
he wrote) can be with certainty identified, viz., Pantaenus, of whom he
speaks in terms of profound reverence, and whom he describes as the
greatest of them all. Returning to Alexandria, he succeeded his master
Pantaenus in the catechetical school, probably on the latter departing on
his missionary tour to the East, somewhere about A.D. 189. He was also
made a presbyter of the Church, either then or somewhat later. He
continued to teach with great distinction till A.D. 202, when the
persecution under Severus compelled him to retire from Alexandria. In the
beginning of the reign of Caracalla we find him at Jerusalem, even then a
great resort of Christian, and especially clerical, pilgrims. We also hear of
him traveling to Antioch, furnished with a letter of recommendation by
Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem. The close of his career is covered with
obscurity. He is supposed to have died about A.D. 220.
Among his pupils were his distinguished successor in the Alexandrian
school, Origen, Alexander bishop of Jerusalem, and, according to Baronius,
Combefisius, and Bull, also Hippolytus. The above is positively the sum
of what we know of Clement’s history.
His three great works, The Exhortation to the Heathen (lo>gov oJ
protreptiko<v pro<v Ellhnav),The Instructor, or Paedagogus
(paidagwgo>v), The Miscellanies, or Stromata (Strwmatei~v ), are among
the most valuable remains of Christian antiquity, and the largest that
belong to that early period.
The Exhortation, the object of which is to win pagans to the Christian
faith, contains a complete and withering exposure of the abominable
licentiousness, the gross imposture and sordidness of paganism. With
clearness and cogency of argument, great earnestness and eloquence,
Clement sets forth in contrast the truth as taught in the inspired
322
Scriptures, the true God, and especially the personal Christ, the living
Word of God, the Savior of men. It is an elaborate and masterly work, rich
in felicitous classical allusion and quotation, breathing throughout the
spirit of philosophy and of the Gospel, and abounding in passages of
power and beauty.
The Paedagogus, or Instructor, is addressed to those who have been
rescued from the darkness and pollutions of heathenism, and is an
exhibition of Christian morals and manners, — a guide for the formation
and development of Christian character, and for living a Christian life. It
consists of three books. It is the grand aim of the whole work to set before
the converts Christ as the only Instructor, and to expound and enforce His
precepts. In the first book Clement exhibits the person, the function, the
means, methods, and ends of the Instructor, who is the Word and Son of
God; and lovingly dwells on His benignity and philanthropy, His wisdom,
faithfulness, and righteousness.
The second and third books lay down rules for the regulation of the
Christian, in all the relations, circumstances, and actions of life, entering
most minutely into the details of dress, eating, drinking, bathing, sleeping,
etc. The delineation of a life in all respects agreeable to the Word, a truly
Christian life, attempted here, may, now that the Gospel has transformed
social and private life to the extent it has, appear unnecessary, or a proof
of the influence of ascetic tendencies. But a code of Christian morals and
manners (a sort of “whole duty of man” and manual of good breeding
combined) was eminently needed by those whose habits and characters
had been molded under the debasing and polluting influences of
heathenism; and who were bound, and were aiming, to shape their lives
according to the principles of the Gospel, in the midst of the all but
incredible licentiousness and luxury by which society around was
incurably tainted. The disclosures which Clement, with solemn sternness,
and often with caustic wit, makes of the prevalent voluptuousness and
vice, form a very valuable contribution to our knowledge of that period.
The full title of the Stromata, according to Eusebius and Photius, was
Ti>tou Flaui>ou Klh>mentov tw~n kata< th<n ajlhqh~ filosofi>an
gnwstikw~n uJpomnhma>twn strwmatei~v — “Titus Flavius Clement’s
miscellaneous collections of speculative (gnostic) notes bearing upon the
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true philosophy.” The aim of the work, in accordance with this title, is, in
opposition to Gnosticism, to furnish the materials for the construction of
a true gnosis, a Christian philosophy, on the basis of faith, and to lead on
to this higher knowledge those who, by the discipline of the Paedagogus,
had been trained for it. The work consisted originally of eight books. The
eighth book is lost; that which appears under this name has plainly no
connection with the rest of the Stromata. Various accounts have been
given of the meaning of the distinctive word in the title (Strwmateu>v ); but
all agree in regarding it as indicating the miscellaneous character of its
contents. And they are very miscellaneous. They consist of the
speculations of Greek philosophers, of heretics, and of those who
cultivated the true Christian gnosis, and of quotations from sacred
Scripture. The latter he affirms to be the source from which the higher
Christian knowledge is to be drawn; as it was that from which the germs of
truth in Plato and the Hellenic philosophy were derived. He describes
philosophy as a divinely ordered preparation of the Greeks for faith in
Christ, as the law was for the Hebrews; and shows the necessity and value
of literature and philosophic culture for the attainment of true Christian
knowledge, in opposition to the numerous body among Christians who
regarded learning as useless and dangerous. He proclaims himself an
eclectic, believing in the existence of fragments of truth in all systems,
which may be separated from error; but declaring that the truth can be
found in unity and completeness only in Christ, as it was from Him that
all its scattered germs originally proceeded. The Stromata are written
carelessly, and even confusedly; but the work is one of prodigious
learning, and supplies materials of the greatest value for understanding the
various conflicting systems which Christianity had to combat.
It was regarded so much as the author’s great work, that, on the testimony
of Theodoret, Cassiodorus, and others, we learn that Clement received the
appellation of Strwmateu>v (the Stromatist). In all probability, the first
part of it was given to the world about A.D. 194. The latest date to which
he brings down his chronology in the first book is the death of Commodus,
which happened in A.D. 192; from which Eusebius concludes that he
wrote this work during the reign of Severus, who ascended the imperial
throne in A.D. 193, and reigned till A.D. 211. It is likely that the whole
was composed ere Clement quitted Alexandria in A.D. 202. The
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publication of the Paedagogus preceded by a short time that of the
Stromata; and the Cohortatio was written a short time before the
Paedagogus, as is clear from statements made by Clement himself.
So multifarious is the erudition, so multitudinous are the quotations and
the references to authors in all departments, and of all countries, the most
of whose works have perished, that the works in question could only have
been composed near an extensive library — hardly anywhere but in the
vicinity of the famous library of Alexandria. They are a storehouse of
curious ancient lore, — a museum of the fossil remains of the beauties and
monstrosities of the world of pagan antiquity, during all the epochs and
phases of its history. The three compositions are really parts of one
whole. The central connecting idea is that of the Logos — the Word — the
Son of God; whom in the first work he exhibits drawing men from the
superstitions and corruptions of heathenism to faith; in the second, as
training them by precepts and discipline; and in the last, as conducting
them to that higher knowledge of the things of God, to which those only
who devote themselves assiduously to spiritual, moral, and intellectual
culture can attain. Ever before his eye is the grand form of the living
personal Christ, — the Word, who “was with God, and who was God, but
who became man, and dwelt among us.”
Of course there is throughout plenty of false science, and frivolous and
fanciful speculation.
Who is the rich man that shall be saved? (ti>v oJ swzo>menov plou>siov) is
the title of a practical treatise, in which Clement shows, in opposition to
those who interpreted our Lord’s words to the young ruler as requiring the
renunciation of worldly goods, that the disposition of the soul is the great
essential. Of other numerous works of Clement, of which only a few stray
fragments have been preserved, the chief are the eight books of The
Hypotyposes, which consisted of expositions of all the books of Scripture.
Of these we have a few undoubted fragments. The Adumbrations, or
Commentaries on some of the Catholic Epistles, and The Selections from
the Prophetic Scriptures, are compositions of the same character, as far as
we can judge, as The Hypotyposes, and are supposed by some to have
formed part of that work.
Other lost works of Clement are: —
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The Treatise of Clement, the Stromatist, on the Prophet Amos.
On Providence.
Treatise on Easter.
On Evil-speaking.
Discussion on Fasting.
Exhortation to Patience; or, To the newly baptized.
Ecclesiastical Canon; or, Against the Judaizers.
Different Terms.
The following are the names of treatises which Clement refers to as
written or about to be written by him, but of which otherwise we have no
trace or mention: — On First Principles; On Prophecy; On the Allegorical
Interpretation of Members and Affections when ascribed to God; On
Angels; On the Devil; On the Origin of the Universe; On the Unity and
Excellence of the Church; On the Offices of Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons,
and Widows; On the Soul; On the Resurrection; On Marriage; On
Continence; Against Heresies.
Preserved among Clement’s works is a fragment called Epitomes of the
Writings of Theodotus, and of the Eastern Doctrine, most likely abridged
extracts made by Clement for his own use, and giving considerable insight
into Gnosticism.
Clement’s quotations from Scripture are made from the Septuagint
version, often inaccurately from memory, sometimes from a different text
from what we possess, often with verbal adaptations; and not rarely
different texts are blended together.
The works of Clement present considerable difficulties to the translator;
and one of the chief is the state of the text, which greatly needs to be
expurgated and amended. For this there are abundant materials, in the
copious annotations and disquisitions, by various hands, collected together
in Migne’s edition; where, however, corruptions the most obvious have
been allowed to remain in the text.
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The publishers are indebted to Dr. W. L. A LEXANDER for the poetical
translations of the Hymns of Clement.
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EXHORTATION
TO THE HEATHEN
CHAPTER 1

EXHORTATION TO ABANDON THE IMPIOUS
MYSTERIES OF IDOLATRY FOR THE ADORATION
OF THE DIVINE WORD AND GOD THE FATHER
AMPHION of Thebes and Arion of Methymna were both minstrels, and
both were renowned in story. They are celebrated in song to this day in
the chorus of the Greeks; the one for having allured the fishes, and the
other for having surrounded Thebes with walls by the power of music.
Another, a Thracian, a cunning master of his art (he also is the subject of a
Hellenic legend), tamed the wild beasts by the mere might of song; and
transplanted trees — oaks — by music. I might tell you also the story of
another, a brother to these — the subject of a myth, and a minstrel —
Eunomos the Locrian and the Pythic grasshopper. A solemn Hellenic
assembly had met at Pytho, to celebrate the death of the Pythic serpent,
when Eunomos sang the reptile’s epitaph. Whether his ode was a hymn in
praise of the serpent, or a dirge, I am not able to say. But there was a
contest, and Eunomos was playing the lyre in the summer time: it was
when the grasshoppers, warmed by the sun, were chirping beneath the
leaves along the hills; but they were singing not to that dead dragon, but to
God All-wise, — a lay unfettered by rule, better than the numbers of
Eunomos. The Locrian breaks a string. The grasshopper sprang on the
neck of the instrument, and sang on it as on a branch; and the minstrel,
adapting his strain to the grasshopper’s song, made up for the want of the
missing string. The grasshopper then was attracted by the song of
Eunomos, as the fable represents, according to which also a brazen statue
of Eunomos with his lyre, and the Locrian’s ally in the contest, was
erected at Pytho. But of its own accord it flew to the lyre, and of its own
accord sang, and was regarded by the Greeks as a musical performer.
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How, let me ask, have you believed vain fables and supposed animals to
be charmed by music while Truth’s shining face alone, as would seem
appears to you disguised, and is looked on with incredulous eyes? And so
Cithaeron, and Helicon, and the mountains of the Odrysi, and the
initiatory rites of the Thracians, mysteries of deceit, are hallowed and
celebrated in hymns. For me, I am pained at such calamities as form the
subjects of tragedy, though but myths; but by you the records of miseries
are turned into dramatic compositions.
But the dramas and the raving poets, now quite intoxicated, let us crown
with ivy; and distracted outright as they are, in Bacchic fashion, with the
satyrs, and the frenzied rabble, and the rest of the demon crew, let us
confine to Cithaeron and Helicon, now antiquated.
But let us bring from above out of heaven, Truth, with Wisdom in all its
brightness, and the sacred prophetic choir, down to the holy mount of
God; and let Truth, darting her light to the most distant points, cast her
rays all around on those that are involved in darkness, and deliver men
from delusion, stretching out her very strong right hand, which is wisdom,
for their salvation. And raising their eyes, and looking above, let them
abandon Helicon and Cithaeron, and take up their abode in Sion. “For out
of Sion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem,
— the celestial Word, the true athlete crowned in the theater of the whole
universe. What my Eunomos sings is not the measure of Terpander, nor
that of Capito, nor the Phrygian, nor Lydian, nor Dorian, but the immortal
measure of the new harmony which bears God’s name — the new, the
Levitical song.
“Soother of pain, calmer of wrath, producing forgetfulness of all ills.”

Sweet and true is the charm of persuasion which blends with this strain.
To me, therefore, that Thracian Orpheus, that Theban, and that
Methymnaean, — men, and yet unworthy of the name, — seem to have
been deceivers, who, under the pretense of poetry corrupting human life,
possessed by a spirit of artful sorcery for purposes of destruction,
celebrating crimes in their orgies, and making human woes the materials of
religious worship, were the first to entice men to idols; nay, to build up
the stupidity of the nations with blocks of wood and stone, — that is,
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statues and images, — subjecting to the yoke of extremest bondage the
truly noble freedom of those who lived as free citizens under heaven by
their songs and incantations. But not such is my song, which has come to
loose, and that speedily, the bitter bondage of tyrannizing demons; and
leading us back to the mild and loving yoke of piety, recalls to heaven
those that had been cast prostrate to the earth. It alone has tamed men, the
most intractable of animals; the frivolous among them answering to the
fowls of the air, deceivers to reptiles, the irascible to lions, the voluptuous
to swine, the rapacious to wolves. The silly are stocks and stones, and still
more senseless than stones is a man who is steeped in ignorance. As our
witness, let us adduce the voice of prophecy accordant with truth, and
bewailing those who are crushed in ignorance and folly: “For God is able
of these stones to raise up children to Abraham;” and He, commiserating
their great ignorance and hardness of heart who are petrified against the
truth, has raised up a seed of piety, sensitive to virtue, of those stones —
of the nations, that is, who trusted in stones. Again, therefore, some
venomous and false hypocrites, who plotted against righteousness, He
once called “a brood of vipers.” But if one of those serpents even is willing
to repent, and follows the Word, he becomes a man of God.
Others he figuratively calls wolves, clothed in sheep-skins, meaning
thereby monsters of rapacity in human form. And so all such most savage
beasts, and all such blocks of stone, the celestial song has transformed into
tractable men. “For even we ourselves were sometime foolish, disobedient,
deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy,
hateful, hating one another.” Thus speaks the apostolic Scripture: “But
after that the kindness and love of God our Savior to man appeared, not
by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His
mercy, He saved us.” Behold the might of the new song! It has made men
out of stones, men out of beasts. Those, moreover, that were as dead, not
being partakers of the true life, have come to life again, simply by
becoming listeners to this song. It also composed the universe into
melodious order, and tuned the discord of the elements to harmonious
arrangement, so that the whole world might become harmony. It let loose
the fluid ocean, and yet has prevented it from encroaching on the land. The
earth, again, which had been in a state of commotion, it has established,
and fixed the sea as its boundary. The violence of fire it has softened by
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the atmosphere, as the Dorian is blended with the Lydian strain; and the
harsh cold of the air it has moderated by the embrace of fire, harmoniously
arranging these the extreme tones of the universe. And this deathless
strain, the support of the whole and the harmony of all, — reaching from
the center to the circumference, and from the extremities to the central
part, has harmonized this universal frame of things, not according to the
Thracian music, which is like that invented by Jubal, but according to the
paternal counsel of God, which fired the zeal of David. And He who is of
David, and yet before him, the Word of God, despising the lyre and harp,
which are but lifeless instruments, and having tuned by the Holy Spirit the
universe, and especially man, — who, composed of body and soul, is a
universe in miniature, makes melody to God on this instrument of many
tones; and to this instrument — I mean man — he sings accordant: “For
thou art my harp, and pipe, and temple.” — a harp for harmony — a pipe
by reason of the Spirit — a temple by reason of the word; so that the first
may sound, the second breathe, the third contain the Lord. And David the
king, the harper whom we mentioned a little above, who exhorted to the
truth and dissuaded from idols, was so far from celebrating demons in
song, that in reality they were driven away by his music. Thus, when Saul
was plagued with a demon, he cured him by merely playing. A beautiful
breathing instrument of music the Lord made man, after His own image.
And He Himself also, surely, who is the supramundane Wisdom, the
celestial Word, is the all-harmonious, melodious, holy instrument of God.
What, then, does this instrument — the Word of God, the Lord, the New
Song — desire? To open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the
deaf, and to lead the lame or the erring to righteousness, to exhibit God to
the foolish, to put a stop to corruption, to conquer death, to reconcile
disobedient children to their father. The instrument of God loves mankind.
The Lord pities, instructs, exhorts, admonishes, saves, shields, and of His
bounty promises us the kingdom of heaven as a reward for learning; and
the only advantage He reaps is, that we are saved. For wickedness feeds
on men’s destruction; but truth, like the bee, harming nothing, delights
only in the salvation of men.
You have, then, God’s promise; you have His love: become partaker of
His grace. And do not suppose the song of salvation to be new, as a vessel
or a house is new. For “before the morning star it was;” and “in the
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beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God.” Error seems old, but truth seems a new thing.
Whether, then, the Phrygians are shown to be the most ancient people by
the goats of the fable; or, on the other hand, the Arcadians by the poets,
who describe them as older than the moon; or, finally, the Egyptians by
those who dream that this land first gave birth to gods and men: yet none
of these at least existed before the world. But before the foundation of the
world were we, who, because destined to be in Him, pre-existed in the eye
of God before, — we the rational creatures of the Word of God, on whose
account we date from the beginning; for “in the beginning was the Word.”
Well, inasmuch as the Word was from the first, He was and is the divine
source of all things; but inasmuch as He has now assumed the name Christ,
consecrated of old, and worthy of power, he has been called by me the
New Song. This Word, then, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first
(for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now
appeared as man, He alone being both, both God and man — the Author
of all blessings to us; by whom we, being taught to live well, are sent on
our way to life eternal. For, according to that inspired apostle of the Lord,
“the grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for the
blessed hope, and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior
Jesus Christ.”
This is the New Song, the manifestation of the Word that was in the
beginning, and before the beginning. The Savior, who existed before, has in
recent days appeared. He, who is in Him that truly is, has appeared; for
the Word, who “was with God,” and by whom all things were created, has
appeared as our Teacher. The Word, who in the beginning bestowed on us
life as Creator when He formed us, taught us to live well when He
appeared as our Teacher; that as God He might afterwards conduct us to
the life which never ends. He did not now for the first time pity us for our
error; but He pitied us from the first, from the beginning. But now, at His
appearance, lost as we already were, He accomplished our salvation. For
that wicked reptile monster, by his enchantments, enslaves and plagues
men even till now; inflicting, as seems to me, such barbarous vengeance on
them as those who are said to bind the captives to corpses till they rot
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together. This wicked tyrant and serpent, accordingly, binding fast with
the miserable chain of superstition whomsoever he can draw to his side
from their birth, to stones, and stocks, and images, and such like idols,
may with truth be said to have taken and buried living men with those
dead idols, till both suffer corruption together.
Therefore (for the seducer is one and the same) he that at the beginning
brought Eve down to death, now brings thither the rest of mankind. Our
ally and helper, too, is one and the same — the Lord, who from the
beginning gave revelations by prophecy, but now plainly calls to salvation.
In obedience to the apostolic injunction, therefore, let us flee from “the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children
of disobedience,” and let us run to the Lord the Savior, who now exhorts
to salvation, as He has ever done, as He did by signs and wonders in
Egypt and the desert, both by the bush and the cloud, which, through the
favor of divine love, attended the Hebrews like a handmaid. By the fear
which these inspired He addressed the hard-hearted; while by Moses,
learned in all wisdom, and Isaiah, lover of truth, and the whole prophetic
choir, in a way appealing more to reason, He turns to the Word those who
have ears to hear. Sometimes He upbraids, and sometimes He threatens.
Some men He mourns over, others He addresses with the voice of song,
just as a good physician treats some of his patients with cataplasms, some
with rubbing, some with fomentations; in one case cuts open with the
lancet, in another cauterizes, in another amputates, in order if possible to
cure the patient’s diseased part or member. The Savior has many tones of
voice, and many methods for the salvation of men; by threatening He
admonishes, by upbraiding He converts, by bewailing He pities, by the
voice of song He cheers. He spake by the burning bush, for the men of that
day needed signs and wonders.
He awed men by the fire when He made flame to burst from the pillar of
cloud — a token at once of grace and fear: if you obey, there is the light; if
you disobey, there is the fire; but. since humanity is nobler than the pillar
or the bush, after them the prophets uttered their voice, — the Lord
Himself speaking in Isaiah, in Elias, — speaking Himself by the mouth of
the prophets. But if thou dost not believe the prophets, but supposest
both the men and the fire a myth, the Lord Himself shall speak to thee,
“who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with
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God, but humbled Himself,” — He, the merciful God, exerting Himself to
save man. And now the Word Himself clearly speaks to thee, shaming thy
unbelief; yea, I say, the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn
from man how man may become God. Is it not then monstrous, my
friends, that while God is ceaselessly exhorting us to virtue, we should
spurn His kindness and reject salvation?
Does not John also invite to salvation, and is he not entirely a voice of
exhortation? Let us then ask him, “Who of men art thou, and whence?” He
will not say Elias. He will deny that he is Christ, but will profess himself
to be “a voice crying in the wilderness.” Who, then, is John? In a word, we
may say, “The beseeching voice of the Word crying in the wilderness.”
What criest thou, O voice? Tell us also. “Make straight the paths of the
LORD.” John is the forerunner, and that voice the precursor of the Word;
an inviting voice, preparing for salvation, — a voice urging men on to the
inheritance of the heavens, and through which the barren and the desolate
is childless no more. This fecundity the angel’s voice foretold; and this
voice was also the precursor of the Lord preaching glad tidings to the
barren woman, as John did to the wilderness. By reason of this voice of
the Word, therefore, the barren woman bears children, and the desert
becomes fruitful. The two voices which heralded the Lord’s — that of the
angel and that of John — intimate, as I think, the salvation in store for us
to be, that on the appearance of this Word we should reap, as the fruit of
this productiveness, eternal life. The Scripture makes this all clear, by
referring both the voices to the same thing: “Let her hear who has not
brought forth, and let her who has not had the pangs of childbirth utter her
voice: for more are the children of the desolate, than of her who hath an
husband.”
The angel announced to us the glad tidings of a husband. John entreated us
to recognize the husbandman, to seek the husband. For this husband of the
barren woman, and this husbandman of the desert — who filled with
divine power the barren woman and the desert — is one and the same. For
because many were the children of the mother of noble rule, yet the
Hebrew woman, once blessed with many children, was made childless
because of unbelief: the barren woman receives the husband, and the desert
the husbandman; then both become mothers through the word, the one of
fruits, the other of believers. But to the Unbelieving the barren and the
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desert are still reserved. For this reason John, the herald of the Word,
besought men to make themselves ready against the coming of the Christ
Of God. And it was this which was signified by the dumbness of
Zacharias, which waited for fruit in the person of the harbinger of Christ,
that the Word, the light of truth, by becoming the Gospel, might break the
mystic silence of the prophetic enigmas. But if thou desirest truly to see
God, take to thyself means of purification worthy of Him, not leaves of
laurel fillets interwoven with wool and purple; but wreathing thy brows
with righteousness, and encircling them with the leaves of temperance, set
thyself earnestly to find Christ. “For I am,” He says, “the door,” which
we who desire to understand God must discover, that He may throw
heaven’s gates wide open to. us. For the gates of the Word being
intellectual, are opened by the key of faith. No one knows God but the
Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal Him. And I know well that He
who has opened the door hitherto shut, will afterwards reveal what is
within; and will show what we could not have known before, had we not
entered in by Christ, through whom alone God is beheld.

CHAPTER 2

THE ABSURDITY AND IMPIETY OF THE HEATHEN MYSTERIES
AND FABLES ABOUT THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF THEIR GODS
Explore not then too curiously the shrines of impiety, or the mouths of
caverns full of monstrosity, or the Thesprotian caldron, or the Cirrhaean
tripod, or the Dodonian copper. The Gerandryon, once regarded sacred in
the midst of desert sands, and the oracle there gone to decay with the oak
itself, consigned to the region of antiquated fables. The fountain of Castalia
is silent, and the other fountain of Colophon; and, in like manner, all the
rest of the springs of divination are dead, and stripped of their vainglory,
although at a late date, are shown with their fabulous legends to have run
dry. Recount to us also the useless oracles of that other kind of divination,
or rather madness, the Clarian, the Pythian, the Didymaean, that of
Amphiaraus, of Apollo, of Amphilochus; and if you will, couple with
them the expounders of prodigies, the augurs, and the interpreters of
dreams. And bring and place beside the Pythian those that divine by flour,
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and those that divine by barley, and the ventriloquists still held in honor
by many. Let the secret shrines of the Egyptians and the necromancies of
the Etruscans be consigned to darkness. Insane devices truly are they all of
unbelieving men. Goats, too, have been confederates in this art of
soothsaying, trained to divination; and crows taught by men to give
oracular responses to men.
And what if I go over the mysteries? I will not divulge them in mockery,
as they say Alcibiades did, but I will expose right well by the word of
truth the sorcery hidden in them; and those so-called gods of yours, whose
are the mystic rites, I shall display, as it were, on the stage of life, to the
spectators of truth. The bacchanals hold their orgies in honor of the
frenzied Dionysus, celebrating their sacred frenzy by the eating of raw
flesh, and go through the distribution of the parts of butchered victims,
crowned with snakes, shrieking out the name of that Eva by whom error
came into the world. The symbol of the Bacchic orgies is a consecrated
serpent. Moreover, according to the strict interpretation of the Hebrew
term, the name Hevia, aspirated, signifies a female serpent.
Demeter and Proserpine have become the heroines of a mystic drama; and
their wanderings, and seizure, and grief, Eleusis celebrates by torchlight
processions. I think that the derivation of orgies and mysteries ought to be
traced, the former to the wrath (ojrgh>) of Demeter against Zeus, the latter
to the nefarious wickedness (mu>sov) relating to Dionysus; but if from
Myus of Attica, who Pollodorus says was killed in hunting — no matter, I
don’t grudge your mysteries the glory of funeral honors. You may
understand mysteria in another way, as mytheria (hunting fables), the
letters of the two words being interchanged; for certainly fables of this sort
hunt after the most barbarous of the Thracians, the most senseless of the
Phrygians, and the superstitious among the Greeks.
Perish, then, the man who was the author of this imposture among men, be
he Dardanus, who taught the mysteries of the mother of the gods, or
Eetion, who instituted the orgies and mysteries of the Samothracians, or
that Phrygian Midas who, having learned the cunning imposture from
Odrysus, communicated it to his subjects. For I will never be persuaded
by that Cyprian Islander Cinyras, who dared to bring forth from night to
the light of day the lewd orgies of Aphrodite in his eagerness to deify a
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strumpet of his own country. Others say that Melampus the son of
Amythaon imported the festivals of Ceres from Egypt into Greece,
celebrating her grief in song.
These I would instance as the prime authors of evil, the parents of
impious fables and of deadly superstition, who sowed in human life that
seed of evil and ruin — the mysteries.
And now, for it is time, I will prove their orgies to be full of imposture and
quackery. And if you have been initiated, you will laugh all the more at
these fables of yours which have been held in honor. I publish without
reserve what has been involved in secrecy, not ashamed to tell what you
are not ashamed to worship.
There is then the foam-born and Cyprus-born, the darling of Cinyras, — I
mean Aphrodite, lover of the virilia, because sprung from them, even from
those of Uranus, that were cut off, — those lustful members, that, after
being cut off, offered violence to the waves. Of members so lewd a worthy
fruit — Aphrodite — is born. In the rites which celebrate this enjoyment
of the sea, as a symbol of her birth a lump of salt and the phallus are
handed to those who are initiated into the art of uncleanness. And those
initiated bring a piece of money to her, as a courtesan’s paramours do to
her,
Then there are the mysteries of Demeter, and Zeus’s wanton embraces of
his mother, and the wrath of Demeter; I know not what for the future I
shall call her, mother or wife, on which account it is that she is called
Brimo, as is said; also the entreaties of Zeus, and the drink of gall, the
plucking out of the hearts of sacrifices, and deeds that we dare not name.
Such rites the Phrygians perform in honor of Attis and Cybele and the
Corybantes. And the story goes, that Zeus, having torn away the orchites
of a ram, brought them out and cast them at the breasts of Demeter,
paying thus a fraudulent penalty for his violent embrace, pretending to
have cut out his own. The symbols of initiation into these rites, when set
before you in a vacant hour, I know will excite your laughter, although on
account of the exposure by no means inclined to laugh. “I have eaten out
of the drum, I have drunk out of the cymbal, I have carried the Cernos, I
have slipped into the bedroom.” Are not these tokens a disgrace? Are not
the mysteries absurdity?
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What if I add the rest? Demeter becomes a mother, Core is reared up to
womanhood. And, in course of time, he who begot her, — this same Zeus
has intercourse with his own daughter Pherephatta, — after Ceres, the
mother, — forgetting his former abominable wickedness. Zeus is both the
father and the seducer of Core, and shamefully courts her in the shape of a
dragon; his identity, however, was discovered. The token of the Sabazian
mysteries to the initiated is “the deity gliding over the breast,” — the
deity being this serpent crawling over the breasts of the initiated. Proof
surely this of the unbridled lust of Zeus. Pherephatta has a child, though,
to be sure, in the form of a bull, as an idolatrous poet says, —
“The bull
The dragon’s father, and the father of the bull the dragon,
On a hill the herdsman’s hidden ox-goad,” —

alluding, as I believe, under the name of the herdsman’s ox-goad, to the
reed wielded by bacchanals. Do you wish me to go into the story of
Persephatta’s gathering of flowers, her basket, and her seizure by Pluto
(Aidoneus), and the rent in the earth, and the swine of Eubouleus that
were swallowed up with the two goddesses; for which reason, in the
Thesmophoria, speaking the Megaric tongue, they thrust out swine? This
mythological story the women celebrate variously in different cities in the
festivals called Thesmophoria and Scirophoria; dramatizing in many forms
the rape of Pherephatta or Persephatta (Proserpine).
The mysteries of Dionysus are wholly inhuman; for while still a child, and
the Curetes danced around [his cradle] clashing their weapons, and the
Titans having come upon them by stealth, and having beguiled him with
childish toys, these very Titans tore him limb from limb when but a child,
as the bard of this mystery, the Thracian Orpheus, says: —
“Cone, and spinning-top, and limb-moving rattles,
And fair golden apples from the clear-toned Hesperides.”

And the useless symbols of this mystic rite it will not be useless to exhibit
for condemnation. These are dice, ball, hoop, apples, top, looking-glass,
tuft of wool.
Athene (Minerva), to resume our account, having abstracted the heart of
Dionysus, was called Pallas, from the vibrating of the heart; and the Titans
who had torn him limb from limb, setting a caldron on a tripod, and
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throwing into it the members of Dionysus, first boiled them down, and
then fixing them on spits, “held them over the fire.” But Zeus having
appeared, since he was a god, having speedily perceived the savor of the
pieces of flesh that were being cooked, — that savor which your gods
agree to have assigned to them as their perquisite, assails the Titans with
his thunderbolt, and consigns the members of Dionysus to his son Apollo
to be interred. And he — for he did not disobey Zeus — bore the
dismembered corpse to Parnassus, and there deposited it.
If you wish to inspect the orgies of the Corybantes, then know that,
having killed their third brother, they covered the head of the dead body
with a purple cloth, crowned it, and carrying it on the point of a spear,
buried it under the roots of Olympus. These mysteries are, in short,
murders and funerals. And the priests of these rites, who are called kings
of the sacred rites by those whose business it is to name them, give
additional strangeness to the tragic occurrence, by forbidding parsley with
the roots from being placed on the table, for they think that parsley grew
from the Corybantic blood that flowed forth; just as the women, in
celebrating the Thesmophoria, abstain from eating the seeds of the
pomegranate which have fallen on the ground, from the idea that
pomegranates sprang from the drops of the blood of Dionysus. Those
Corybantes also they call Cabiric; and the ceremony itself they announce
as the Cabiric mystery.
For those two identical fratricides, having abstracted the box in which the
phallus of Bacchus was deposited, took it to Etruria — dealers in
honorable wares truly. They lived there as exiles, employing themselves in
communicating the precious teaching of their superstition, and presenting
phallic symbols and the box for the Tyrrhenians to worship. And some
will have it, not improbably, that for this reason Dionysus was called
Attis, because he was mutilated. And what is surprising at the
Tyrrhenians, who were barbarians, being thus initiated into these foul
indignities, when among the Athenians, and in the whole of Greece — I
blush to say it — the shameful legend about Demeter holds its ground?
For Demeter, wandering in quest of her daughter Core, broke down with
fatigue near Eleusis, a place in Attica, and sat down on a well overwhelmed
with grief. This is even now prohibited to those who are initiated, lest
they should appear to mimic the weeping goddess. The indigenous
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inhabitants then occupied Eleusis: their names were Baubo, and Dusaules,
and Triptolemus; and besides, Eumolpus and Eubouleus. Triptolemus was
a herdsman, Eumolpus a shepherd, and Eubouleus a swineherd; from
whom came the race of the Eumolpidae and that of the Heralds — a race of
Hierophants — who flourished at Athens.
Well, then (for I shall not refrain from the recital), Baubo having received
Demeter hospitably, reaches to her a refreshing draught; and on her
refusing it, not having any inclination to drink (for she was very sad), and
Baubo having become annoyed, thinking herself slighted, uncovered her
shame, and exhibited her nudity to the goddess. Demeter is delighted at the
sight, and takes, though with difficulty, the draught — pleased, I repeat, at
the spectacle. These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians; these
Orpheus records. I shall produce the very words of Orpheus, that you
may have the great authority on the mysteries himself, as evidence for this
piece of turpitude: —
“Having thus spoken, she drew aside her garments,
And showed all that shape of the body which it is improper to name,
And with her own hand Baubo stripped herself under the breasts.
Blandly then the goddess laughed and laughed in her mind,
And received the glancing cup in which was the draught.”

And the following is the token of the Eleusinian mysteries: I have fasted, I
have drunk the cup; I have received from the box; having done, I put it into
the basket, and out of the basket into the chest. Fine sights truly, and
becoming a goddess; mysteries worthy of the night, and flame, and the
magnanimous or rather silly people of the Erechthidae, and the other
Greeks besides, “whom a fate they hope not for awaits after death.” And
in truth against these Heraclitus the Ephesian prophesies, as “the night-
walkers, the magi, the bacchanals, the Lenaean revelers, the initiated.”
These he threatens with what will follow death, and predicts for them fire.
For what are regarded among men as mysteries, they celebrate
sacrilegiously. Law, then, and opinion, are nugatory. And the mysteries of
the dragon are an imposture, which celebrates religiously mysteries that
are no mysteries at all, and observes with a spurious piety profane rites.
What are these mystic chests? — for I must expose their sacred things,
and divulge things not fit for speech. Are they not sesame cakes, and
pyramidal cakes, and globular and flat cakes, embossed all over, and lumps
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of salt, and a serpent the symbol of Dionysus Bassareus? And besides
these, are they not pomegranates, and branches, and rods, and ivy leaves?
and besides, round cakes and poppy seeds? And further, there are the
unmentionable symbols of Themis, marjoram, a lamp, a sword, a woman’s
comb, which is a euphemism and mystic expression for the muliebria.
O unblushing shamelessness! Once on a time night was silent, a veil for the
pleasure of temperate men; but now for the initiated, the holy night is the
tell-tale of the rites of licentiousness; and the glare of torches reveals
vicious indulgences. Quench the flame, O Hierophant; reverence, O Torch-
bearer, the torches. That light exposes Iacchus; let thy mysteries be
honored, and command the orgies to be hidden in night and darkness.
The fire dissembles not; it exposes and punishes what it is bidden.
Such are the mysteries of the Atheists. And with reason I call those
Atheists who know not the true God, and pay shameless worship to a
boy torn in pieces by the Titans, and a woman in distress, and to parts of
the body that in truth cannot be mentioned for shame, held fast as they are
in the double impiety, first in that they know not God, not acknowledging
as God Him who truly is; the other and second is the error of regarding
those who exist not, as existing and calling those gods that have no real
existence, or rather no existence at all, who have nothing but a name.
Wherefore the apostle reproves us, saying, “And ye were strangers to the
covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”
All honor to that king of the Scythians, whoever Anacharsis was, who
shot with an arrow one of his subjects who imitated among the Scythians
the mystery of the Mother of the gods, as practiced by the inhabitants of
Cyzicus, beating a drum and sounding a cymbal strung from his neck like a
priest of Cybele, condemning him as having become effeminate among the
Greeks, and a teacher of the disease of effeminacy to the rest of the
Cythians.
Wherefore (for I must by no means conceal it) I cannot help wondering
how Euhemerus of Agrigentum, and Nicanor of Cyprus, and Diagoras, and
Hippo of Melos, and besides these, that Cyrenian of the name of
Theodorus, and numbers of others, who lived a sober life, and had a clearer
insight than the rest of the world into the prevailing error respecting those
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gods, were called Atheists; for if they did not arrive at the knowledge of
the truth, they certainly suspected the error of the common opinion;
which suspicion is no insignificant seed, and becomes the germ of true
wisdom. One of these charges the Egyptians thus: “If you believe them to
be gods, do not mourn or bewail them; and if you mourn and bewail them,
do not any more regard them as gods.” And another, taking an image of
Hercules made of wood (for he happened most likely to be cooking
something at home), said, “Come now, Hercules; now is the time to
undergo for us this thirteenth labor, as you did the twelve for Eurystheus,
and make this ready for Diagoras,” and so cast it into the fire as a log of
wood. For the extremes of ignorance are atheism and superstition, from
which we must endeavor to keep. And do you not see Moses, the
hierophant of the truth, enjoining that no eunuch, or emasculated man, or
son of a harlot, should enter the congregation? By the two first he alludes
to the impious custom by which men were deprived both of divine energy
and of their virility; and by the third, to him who, in place of the only real
God, assumes many gods falsely so called, — as the son of a harlot, in
ignorance of his true father, may claim many putative fathers.
There was an innate original communion between men and heaven,
obscured through ignorance, but which now at length has leapt forth
instantaneously from the darkness, and shines resplendent; as has been
expressed by one in the following lines: —
“See’st thou this lofty, this boundless ether,
Holding the earth in the embrace of its humid arms.”

And in these: —
“O Thou, who makest the earth Thy chariot, and in the earth hast Thy seat,
Whoever Thou be, baffling our efforts to behold Thee.”

And whatever else the sons of the poets sing.
But sentiments erroneous, and deviating from what is right, and certainly
pernicious, have turned man, a creature of heavenly origin, away from the
heavenly life, and stretched him on the earth, by inducing him to cleave to
earthly objects. For some, beguiled by the contemplation of the heavens,
and trusting to their sight alone, while they looked on the motions of the
stars, straightway were seized with admiration, and deified them, calling
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the stars gods from their motion (qeo>v from qei~n); and worshipped the
sun, — as, for example, the Indians; and the moon, as the Phrygians.
Others, plucking the benignant fruits of earth-born plants, called grain
Demeter, as the Athenians, and the vine Dionysus, as the Thebans.
Others, considering the penalties of wickedness, deified them,
worshipping various forms of retribution and calamity. Hence the
Erinnyes, and the Eumenides, and the piacular deities, and the judges and
avengers of crime, are the creations of the tragic poets.
And some even of the philosophers, after the poets, make idols of forms
of the affections in your breasts, — such as fear, and love, and joy, and
hope; as, to be sure, Epimenides of old, who raised at Athens the altars of
Insult and Impudence. Other objects deified by men take their rise from
events, and are fashioned in bodily shape, such as a Dike, a Clotho, and
Lachesis, and Atropos, and Heimarmene, and Auxo, and Thallo, which are
Attic goddesses. There is a sixth mode of introducing error and of
manufacturing gods, according to which they number the twelve gods,
whose birth is the theme of which Hesiod sings in his Theogony, and of
whom Homer speaks in all that he says of the gods. The last mode remains
(for there are seven in all) — that which takes its rise from the divine
beneficence towards men. For, not understanding that it is God that does
us good, they have invented saviors in the persons of the Dioscuri, and
Hercules the averter of evil, and Asclepius the healer. These are the
slippery and hurtful deviations from the truth which draw man down from
heaven, and cast him into the abyss. I wish to show thoroughly what like
these gods of yours are, that now at length you may abandon your
delusion, and speed your flight back to heaven. “For we also were once
children of wrath, even as others; but God, being rich in mercy, for the
great love wherewith He loved us, when we were now dead in trespasses,
quickened us together with Christ.” For the Word is living, and having
been buried with Christ, is exalted with God. But those who are still
unbelieving are called children of wrath, reared for wrath. We who have
been rescued from error, and restored to the truth, are no longer the
nurslings of wrath. Thus, therefore, we who were once the children of
lawlessness, have through the philanthropy of the Word now become the
sons of God.
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But to you a poet of your own, Empedocles of Agrigentum, comes and
says: —
“Wherefore, distracted with grievous evils,
You will never ease your soul of its miserable woes.”

The most of what is told of your gods is fabled and invented; and those
things which are supposed to have taken place, are recorded of vile men
who lived licentious lives: —
“You walk in pride and madness,
And leaving the right and straight path, you have gone awayThrough thorns
and briars. Why do ye wander?
Cease, foolish men, from mortals;
Leave the darkness of night, and lay hold on the light.”

These counsels the Sibyl, who is at once prophetic and poetic, enjoins on
us; and truth enjoins them on us too, stripping the crowd of deities of
those terrifying and threatening masks of theirs, disproving the rash
opinions formed of them by showing the similarity of names. For there are
those who reckon three Jupiters: him of Aether in Arcadia, and the other
two sons of Kronos; and of these, one in Crete, and the others again in
Arcadia. And there are those that reckon five Athenes: the Athenian, the
daughter of Hephaestus; the second, the Egyptian, the daughter of Nilus;
the third the inventor of war, the daughter of Kronos; the fourth, the
daughter of Zeus, whom the Messenians have named Coryphasia, from
her mother; above all, the daughter of Pallas and Titanis, the daughter of
Oceanus, who, having wickedly killed her father, adorned herself with her
father’s skin, as if it had been the fleece of a sheep. Further, Aristotle calls
the first Apollo, the son of Hephaestus and Athene (consequently Athene
is no more a virgin); the second, that in Crete, the son of Corybas; the
third, the son Zeus; the fourth, the Arcadian, the son of Silenus (this one is
called by the Arcadians Nomius); and in addition to these, he specifies the
Libyan Apollo, the son of Ammon; and to these Didymus the grammarian
adds a sixth, the son of Magnes. And now how many Apollos are there?
They are numberless, mortal men, all helpers of their fellow-men who
similarly with those already mentioned have been so called. And what
were I to mention the many Asclepiuses, or all the Mercuries that are
reckoned up, or the Vulcans of fable? Shall I not appear extravagant,
deluging your ears with these numerous names?
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At any rate, the native countries of your gods, and their arts and lives, and
besides especially their sepulchers, demonstrate them to have been men.
Mars, accordingly, who by the poets is held in the highest possible honor:

“Mars, Mars, bane of men, blood-stained stormer of walls,” —

this deity, always changing sides, and implacable, as Epicharmus says,
was a Spartan; Sophocles knew him for a Thracian; others say he was an
Arcadian. This god, Homer says, was bound thirteen months: —
“Mars had his suffering; by Aloeus’ sons,
Otus and Ephialtes, strongly bound,
He thirteen months in brazen fetters lay.”

Good luck attend the Carians, who sacrifice dogs to him! And may the
Scythians never leave off sacrificing asses, as Apollodorus and
Callimachus relate: —
“Phoebus rises propitious to the Hyperboreans,
Then they offer sacrifices of asses to him.”
And the same in another place: —
“Fat sacrifices of asses’ flesh delight Phoebus.”

Hephaestus, whom Jupiter cast from Olympus, from its divine threshold,
having fallen on Lemnos, practiced the art of working in brass, maimed in
his feet: —
“His tottering knees were bowed beneath his weight.”

You have also a doctor, and not only a brass-worker among the gods. And
the doctor was greedy of gold; Asclepius was his name. I shall produce as
a witness your own poet, the Boeotian Pindar: —
“Him even the gold glittering in his hands,
Amounting to a splendid fee, persuaded
To rescue a man, already death’s capture, from his grasp;
But Saturnian Jove, having shot his bolt through both,
Quickly took the breath from their breasts,
And his flaming thunderbolt sealed their doom.”

And Euripides: —
“For Zeus was guilty of the murder of my son
Asclepius, by casting the lightning flame at his breast.”
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He therefore lies struck with lightning in the regions of Cynosuris.
Philochorus also says, that Poseidon was worshipped as a physician in
Tenos; and that Kronos settled in Sicily, and there was buried. Patroclus
the Thurian, and Sophocles the younger, in three tragedies, have told the
story of the Dioscuri; and these Dioscuri were only two mortals, if Homer
is worthy of credit: —
“......but they beneath the teeming earth,
In Lacedaemon lay, their native land.”

And, in addition, he who wrote the Cyprian poems says Castor was
mortal, and death was decreed to him by fate; but Pollux was immortal,
being the progeny of Mars. This he has poetically fabled. But Homer is
more worthy of credit, who spoke as above of both the Dioscuri; and,
besides, proved Herucles to be a mere phantom: —
“The man Hercules, expert in mighty deeds.”

Hercules, therefore, was known by Homer himself as only a mortal man.
And Hieronymus the philosopher describes the make of his body, as tall,
bristling-haired, robust; and Dicaearchus says that he was square-built,
muscular, dark, hook-nosed, with grayish eyes and long hair. This
Hercules, accordingly, after living fifty-two years, came to his end, and
was burned in a funeral pyre in Oeta.
As for the Muses, whom Alcander calls the daughters of Zeus and
Mnemosyne, and the rest of the poets and authors deify and worship, —
those Muses, in honor of whom whole states have already erected
museums, being handmaids, were hired by Megaclo, the daughter of
Macar. This Macar reigned over the Lesbians, and was always quarreling
with his wife; and Megaclo was vexed for her mother’s sake. What would
she not do on her account? Accordingly she hires those handmaids, being
so many in number, and calls them Mysae, according to the dialect of the
Aeolians. These she taught to sing deeds of the olden time, and play
melodiously on the lyre. And they, by assiduously playing the lyre, and
singing sweetly to it, soothed Macar, and put a stop to his ill-temper.
Wherefore Megaclo, as a token of gratitude to them, on her mother’s
account erected brazen pillars, and ordered them to be held in honor in all
the temples. Such, then, are the Muses. This account is in Myrsilus of
Lesbos. And now, then, hear the loves of your gods, and the incredible
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tales of their licentiousness, and their wounds, and their bonds, and their
laughings, and their fights, their servitudes too, and their banquets; and
furthermore, their embraces, and tears, and sufferings, and lewd delights.
Call me Poseidon, and the troop of damsels deflowered by him,
Amphitrite Amymone, Alope, Melanippe, Alcyone, Hippothoe, Chione,
and myriads of others; with whom, though so many, the passions of your
Poseidon were not satiated.
Call me Apollo; this is Phoebus, both a holy prophet and a good adviser.
But Sterope will not say that, nor Aethousa, nor Arsinoe, nor Zeuxippe,
nor Prothoe, nor Marpissa, nor Hypsipyle. For Daphne alone escaped the
prophet and seduction.
And, above all, let the father of gods and men, according to you, himself
come, who was so given to sexual pleasure, as to lust after all, and indulge
his lust on all, like the goats of the Thmuitae. And thy poems, O Homer,
fill me with admiration!
“He said, and nodded with his shadowy brows;
Waved on the immortal head the ambrosial locks,
And all Olympus trembled at his nod.”

Thou makest Zeus venerable, O Homer; and the nod which thou dost
ascribe to him is most reverend. But show him only a woman’s girdle, and
Zeus is exposed, and his locks are dishonored. To what a pitch of
licentiousness did that Zeus of yours proceed, who spent so many nights
in voluptuousness with Alcmene? For not even these nine nights were long
to this insatiable monster. But, on the contrary, a whole lifetime were
short enough for his lust; that he might beget for us the evil-averting God.
Hercules, the son of Zeus — a true son of Zeus — was the offspring of
that long night, who with hard toil accomplished the twelve labors in a
long time, but in one night deflowered the fifty daughters of Thestius, and
thus was at once the debaucher and the bridegroom of so many virgins. It
is not, then, without reason that the poets call him a cruel wretch and a
nefarious scoundrel. It were tedious to recount his adulteries of all sorts,
and debauching of boys. For your gods did not even abstain from boys,
one having loved Hylas, another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another
Chrysippus, and another Ganymede. Let such gods as these be
worshipped by your wives, and let them pray that their husbands be such
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as these — so temperate; that, emulating them in the same practices, they
may be like the gods. Such gods let your boys be trained to worship, that
they may grow up to be men with the accursed likeness of fornication on
them received from the gods.
But it is only the male deities, perhaps, that are impetuous in sexual
indulgence.
“The female deities stayed each in the house, for shame,” says Homer; the
goddesses blushing, for modesty’s sake, to look on Aphrodite when she
had been guilty of adultery. But these are more passionately licentious,
bound in the chains of adultery; Eos having disgraced herself with
Tithonus, Selene with Endymion, Nereis with Aeacus, Thetis with Peleus,
Demeter with Jason, Persephatta with Adonis. And Aphrodite having
disgraced herself with Ares, crossed over to Cinyra and married Anchises,
and laid snares for Phaethon, and loved Adonis. She contended with the
ox-eyed Juno; and the goddesses un-robed for the sake of the apple, and
presented themselves naked before the shepherd, that he might decide
which was the fairest.
But come, let us briefly go the round of the games, and do away with
those solemn assemblages at tombs, the Isthmian, Nemean, and Pythian,
and finally the Olympian. At Pytho the Pythian dragon is worshipped,
and the festival-assemblage of the serpent is called by the name Pythia. At
the Isthmus the sea spit out a piece of miserable refuse; and the Isthmian
games bewail Melicerta.
At Nemea another — a little boy, Archemorus — was buried; and the
funeral games of the child are called Nemea. Pisa is the grave of the
Phrygian charioteer, O Hellenes of all tribes; and the Olympian games,
which are nothing else than the funeral sacrifices of Pelops, the Zeus of
Phidias claims for himself. The mysteries were then, as is probable, games
held in honor of the dead; so also were the oracles, and both became
public. But the mysteries at Sagra and in Alimus of Attica were confined
to Athens. But those contests and phalloi consecrated to Dionysus were a
world’s shame, pervading life with their deadly influence. For Dionysus,
eagerly desiring to descend to Hades, did not know the way; a man, by
name Prosymnus, offers to tell him, not without reward. The reward was a
disgraceful one, though not so in the opinion of Dionysus: it was an
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Aphrodisian favor that was asked of Dionysus as a reward. The god was
not reluctant to grant the request made to him, and promises to fulfill it
should he return, and confirms his promise with an oath. Having learned
the way, he departed and again returned: he did not find Prosymnus, for he
had died. In order to acquit himself of his promise to his lover, he rushes
to his tomb, and burns with unnatural lust. Cutting a fig-branch that came
to his hand, he shaped the phallus, and so performed his promise to the
dead man. As a mystic memorial of this incident, phalloi are raised aloft in
honor of Dionysus through the various cities. “For did they not make a
procession in honor of Dionysus, and sing most shameless songs in honor
of the pudenda, all would go wrong,” says Heraclitus. This is that Pluto
and Dionysus in whose honor they give themselves up to frenzy, and play
the bacchanal, — not so much, in my opinion, for the sake of intoxication,
as for the sake of the shameless ceremonial practiced. With reason,
therefore, such as have become slaves of their passions are your gods!
Furthermore, like the Helots among the Lacedemonians, Apollo came
under the yoke of slavery to Admetus in Pherae, Hercules to Omphale in
Sardis. Poseidon — was a drudge to Laomedon; and so was Apollo, who,
like a good-for-nothing servant, was unable to obtain his freedom from his
former master; and at that time the walls of Troy were built by them for
the Phrygian. And Homer is not ashamed to speak of Athene as appearing
to Ulysses with a golden lamp in her hand. And we read of Aphrodite, like
a wanton serving-wench, taking and setting a seat for Helen opposite the
adulterer, in order to entice him.
Panyasis, too, tells us of gods in plenty besides those who acted as
servants, writing thus: —
“Demeter underwent servitude, and so did the famous lame God;
Poseidon underwent it, and Apollo too, of the silver bow,
With a mortal man for a year. And fierce Mars
Underwent it at the compulsion of his father.”

And so on.
Agreeably to this, it remains for me to bring before you those amatory and
sensuous deities of yours, as in every respect having human feelings.
“For theirs was a mortal body.”
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This Homer most distinctly shows, by introducing Aphrodite uttering
loud and shrill cries on account of her wound; and describing the most
warlike Ares himself as wounded in the stomach by Diomede. Polemo,
too, says that Athene was wounded by Ornytus; nay, Homer says that
Pluto even was struck with an arrow by Hercules; and Panyasis relates
that the beams of Sol were struck by the arrows of Hercules; and the same
Panyasis relates, that by the same Hercules Hera the goddess of marriage
was wounded in sandy Pylos. Sosibius, too, relates that Hercules was
wounded in the hand by the sons of Hippocoon. And if there are wounds,
there is blood. For the ichor of the poets is more repulsive than blood; for
the putrefaction of blood is called ichor. Wherefore cures and means of
sustenance of which they stand in need must be furnished. Accordingly
mention is made of tables, and potations, and laughter, and intercourse; for
men would not devote themselves to love, or beget children, or sleep, if
they were immortal, and had no wants, and never grew old. Jupiter
himself, when the guest of Lycaon the Arcadian, partook of a human table
among the Ethiopians — a table rather inhuman and forbidden. For he
satiated himself with human flesh unwittingly; for the god did not know
that Lycaon the Arcadian, his entertainer, had slain his son (his name was
Nyctimus), and served him up cooked before Zeus.
This is Jupiter the good, the prophetic, the patron of hospitality, the
protector of suppliants, the benign, the author of omens, the avenger of
wrongs; rather the unjust, the violater of right and of law, the impious, the
inhuman, the violent, the seducer, the adulterer, the amatory. But perhaps
when he was such he was a man; but now these fables seem to have grown
old on our hands. Zeus is no longer a serpent, a swan, nor an eagle, nor a
licentious man; the god no longer flies, nor loves boys, nor kisses, nor
offers violence, although there are still many beautiful women, more
comely than Leda, more blooming than Semele, and boys of better looks
and manners than the Phrygian herdsman. Where is now that eagle? where
now that swan? where now is Zeus himself? He has grown old with his
feathers; for as yet he does not repent of his amatory exploits, nor is he
taught continence. The fable is exposed before you: Leda is dead, the swan
is dead. Seek your Jupiter. Ransack not heaven, but earth. The Cretan, in
whose country he was buried, will show him to you, — I mean
Callimachus, in his hymns: —
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“For thy tomb, O king,
The Cretans fashioned!”

For Zeus is dead, be not distressed, as Leda is dead, and the swan, and the
eagle, and the libertine, and the serpent. And now even the superstitious
seem, although reluctantly, yet truly, to have come to understand their
error respecting the gods.
“For not from an ancient oak, nor from a rock,
But from men, is thy descent.”

But shortly after this, they will be found to be but oaks and stones. One
Agamemnon is said by Staphylus to be worshipped as a Jupiter in Sparta;
and Phanocles, in his book of the Brave and Fair, relates that Agamemnon
king of the Hellenes erected the temple of Argennian Aphrodite, in honor
of Argennus his friend. An Artemis, named the Strangled, is worshipped
by the Arcadians, as Callimachus says in his Book of Causes; and at
Methymna another Artemis had divine honors paid her, viz., Artemis
Condylitis. There is also the temple of another Artemis — Artemis
Podagra (or, the gout) — in Laconica, as Sosibius says. Polemo tells of an
image of a yawning Apollo; and again of another image, reverenced in Elis,
of the guzzling Apollo. Then the Eleans sacrifice to Zeus, the averter of
flies; and the Romans sacrifice to Hercules, the averter of flies; and to
Fever, and to Terror, whom also they reckon among the attendants of
Hercules. (I pass over the Argives, who worshipped Aphrodite, opener of
graves.) The Argives and Spartans reverence Artemis Chelytis, or the
cougher, from celu>ttein, which in their speech signifies to cough.
Do you imagine from what source these details have been quoted? Only
such as are furnished by yourselves are here adduced; and you do not seem
to recognize your own writers, whom I call as witnesses against your
unbelief. Poor wretches that ye are, who have filled with unholy jesting
the whole compass of your life — a life in reality devoid of life!
Is not Zeus the Baldhead worshipped in Argos; and another Zeus, the
avenger, in Cyprus? Do not the Argives sacrifice to Aphrodite Peribaso
(the protectress), and the Athenians to Aphrodite Hetaera (the courtesan),
and the Syracusans to Aphrodite Kallipygos, whom Nicander has
somewhere called Kalliglutos (with beautiful rump). I pass over in silence
just now Dionysus Choiropsales. The Sicyonians reverence this deity,
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whom they have constituted the god of the muliebria — the patron of
filthiness — and religiously honor as the author of licentiousness. Such,
then, are their gods; such are they also who make mockery of the gods, or
rather mock and insult themselves. How much better are the Egyptians,
who in their towns and villages pay divine honors to the irrational
creatures, than the Greeks, who worship such gods as these?
For if they are beasts, they are not adulterous or libidinous, and seek
pleasure in nothing that is contrary to nature. And of what sort these
deities are, what need is there further to say, as they have been already
sufficiently exposed? Furthermore, the Egyptians whom I have now
mentioned are divided in their objects of worship. The Syenites worship
the braize-fish; and the maiotes — this is another fish — is worshipped
by those who inhabit Elephantine: the Oxyrinchites likewise worship a
fish which takes its name from their country. Again, the Heraclitopolites
worship the ichneumon, the inhabitants of Sais and of Thebes a sheep, the
Leucopolites a wolf, the Cynopolites a dog, the Memphites Apis, the
Mendesians a goat. And you, who are altogether better than the Egyptians
(I shrink from saying worse), who never cease laughing every day of your
lives at the Egyptians, what are some of you, too, with regard to brute
beasts? For of your number the Thessalians pay divine homage to storks,
in accordance with ancient custom; and the Thebans to weasels, for their
assistance at the birth of Hercules. And again, are not the Thessalians
reported to worship ants, since they have learned that Zeus in the likeness
of an ant had intercourse with Eurymedusa, the daughter of Cletor, and
begot Myrmidon? Polemo, too, relates that the people who inhabit the
Troad worship the mice of the country, which they call Sminthoi, because
they gnawed the strings of their enemies’ bows; and from those mice
Apollo has received his epithet of Sminthian. Heraclides, in his work,
Regarding the Building of Temples in Acarnania, says that, at the place
where the promontory of Actium is, and the temple of Apollo of Actium,
they offer to the flies the sacrifice of an ox.
Nor shall I forget the Samians: the Samians, as Euphorion says, reverence
the sheep. Nor shall I forget the Syrians, who inhabit Phoenicia, of whom
some revere doves, and others fishes, with as excessive veneration as the
Eleans do Zeus. Well, then, since those you worship are not gods, it seems
to me requisite to ascertain if those are really demons who are ranked, as
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you say, in this second order [next the gods]. For if the lickerish and
impure are demons, indigenous demons who have obtained sacred honors
may be discovered in crowds throughout your cities: Menedemus among
the Cythnians; among the Tenians, Callistagoras; among the Delians,
Anius; among the Laconians, Astrabacus; at Phalerus, a hero affixed to the
prow of ships is worshipped; and the Pythian priestess enjoined the
Plataeans to sacrifice to Androcrates and Democrates, and Cyclaeus and
Leuco while the Median war was at its height. Other demons in plenty
may be brought to light by any one who can look about him a little.
“For thrice ten thousand are there in the all-nourishing earth
Of demons immortal, the guardians of articulate-speaking men.”

Who these guardians are, do not grudge, O Boeotian, to tell. Is it not clear
that they are those we have mentioned, and those of more renown, the
great demons, Apollo, Artemis, Leto, Demeter, Core, Pluto, Hercules, and
Zeus himself?
But it is from running away that they guard us, O Ascraean, or perhaps it
is from sinning, as forsooth they have never tried their hand at sin
themselves! In that case verily the proverb may fitly be uttered: —
“The father who took no admonition admonishes his son.”

If these are our guardians, it is not because they have any ardor of kindly
feeling towards us, but intent on your ruin, after the manner of flatterers,
they prey on your substance, enticed by the smoke. These demons
themselves indeed confess their own gluttony, saying: —
“For with drink-offerings due, and fat of lambs,
My altar still hath at their hands been fed;
Such honor hath to us been ever paid.”

What other speech would they utter, if indeed the gods of the Egyptians,
such as cats and weasels, should receive the faculty of speech, than that
Homeric and poetic one which proclaims their liking for savory odors and
cookery? Such are your demons and gods, and demigods, if there are any
so called, as there are demi-asses (mules); for you have no want of terms
to make up compound names of impiety.
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CHAPTER 3

THE CRUELTY OF THE SACRIFICES TO THE GODS
Well, now, let us say in addition, what inhuman demons, and hostile to the
human race, your gods were, not only delighting in the insanity of men,
but gloating over human slaughter, — now in the armed contests for
superiority in the stadia, and now in the numberless contests for renown
in the wars providing for themselves the means of pleasure, that they
might be able abundantly to satiate themselves with the murder of human
beings.
And now, like plagues invading cities and nations, they demanded cruel
oblations. Thus Aristomenes the Messenian slew three hundred human
beings in honor of Ithometan Zeus thinking that hecatombs of such a
number and quality would give good omens; among whom was
Theopompos, king of the Lacedemonians, a noble victim.
The Taurians, the people who inhabit the Tauric Chersonese, sacrifice to
the Tauric Artemis forthwith whatever strangers they lay hands on their
coasts who have been cast adrift on the sea. These sacrifices Euripides
represents in tragedies on the stage. Monimus relates, in his treatise on
marvels, that at Pella, in Thessaly, a man of Achaia was slain in sacrifice to
Peleus and Chiron. That the Lyctii, who are a Cretan race, slew men in
sacrifice to Zeus, Anticlides shows in his Homeward Journeys; and that
the Lesbians offered the like sacrifice to Dionysus, is said by Dosidas. The
Phocaeans also (for I will not pass over such as they are), Pythocles
informs us in his third book, On Concord, offer a man as a burnt-sacrifice
to the Taurian Artemis.
Erechtheus of Attica and Marius the Roman sacrificed their daughters, —
the former to Pherephatta, as Demaratus mentions in his first book on
Tragic Subjects; the latter to the evil-averting deities, as Dorotheus relates
in his first book of Italian Affairs. Philanthropic, assuredly, the demons
appear, from these examples; and how shall those who revere the demons
not be correspondingly pious? The former are called by the fair name of
saviors; and the latter ask for safety from those who plot against their
safety, imagining that they sacrifice with good omens to them, and forget
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that they themselves are slaying men. For a murder does not become a
sacrifice by being committed in a particular spot. You are not to call it a
sacred sacrifice, if one slays a man either at the altar or on the highway to
Artemis or Zeus, any more than if he slew him for anger or covetousness,
— other demons very like the former; but a sacrifice of this kind is murder
and human butchery. Then why is it, O men, wisest of all creatures, that
you avoid wild beasts, and get out of the way of the savage animals, if you
fall in with a bear or lion?
“. . . . .As when some traveler spies,
Coiled in his path upon the mountain side,
A deadly snake, back he recoils in haste, —
His limbs all trembling, and his cheek all pale,”

But though you perceive and understand demons to be deadly and wicked,
plotters, haters of the human race, and destroyers, why do you not turn
out of their way, or turn them out of yours? What truth can the wicked
tell, or what good can they do any one?
I can then readily demonstrate that man is better than these gods of yours,
who are but demons; and can show, for instance, that Cyrus and Solon
were superior to oracular Apollo. Your Phoebus was a lover of gifts, but
not a lover of men. He betrayed his friend Croesus, and forgetting the
reward he had got (so careful was he of his fame), led him across the Halys
to the stake. The demons love men in such a way as to bring them to the
fire [unquenchable].
But O man, who lovest the human race better, and art truer than Apollo,
pity him that is bound on the pyre. Do thou, O Solon, declare truth; and
thou, O Cyrus, command the fire to be extinguished. Be wise, then, at last,
O Croesus, taught by suffering. He whom you worship is an ingrate; he
accepts your reward, and after taking the gold plays false. “Look again to
the end, O Solon. It is not the demon, but the man that tells you this. It is
not ambiguous oracles that Solon utters. You shall easily take him up.
Nothing but true, O Barbarian, shall you find by proof this oracle to be,
when you are placed on the pyre. Whence I cannot help wondering, by
what plausible reasons those who first went astray were impelled to
preach superstition to men, when they exhorted them to worship wicked
demons, whether it was Phoroneus or Merops, or whoever else that raised
temples and altars to them; and besides, as is fabled, were the first to offer
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sacrifices to them. But, unquestionably, in succeeding ages men invented
for themselves gods to worship. It is beyond doubt that this Eros, who is
said to be among the oldest of the gods, was worshipped by no one till
Charmus took a little boy and raised an altar to him in Academia, — a
thing more seemly, than the lust he had gratified; and the lewdness of vice
men called by the name of Eros, deifying thus unbridled lust. The
Athenians, again, knew not who Pan was till Philippides told them.
Superstition, then, as was to be expected, having taken its rise thus,
became the fountain of insensate wickedness; and not being subsequently
checked, but having gone on augmenting and rushing along in full flood, it
became the originator of many demons, and was displayed in sacrificing
hecatombs, appointing solemn assemblies, setting up images, and building
temples, which were in reality tombs: for I will not pass these over in
silence, but make a thorough exposure of them, though called by the august
name of temples; that is, the tombs which got the name of temples. But do
ye now at length quite give up your superstition, feeling ashamed to regard
sepulchers with religious veneration. In the temple of Athene in Larissa,
on the Acropolis, is the grave of Acrisius; and at Athens, on the
Acropolis, is that of Cecrops, as Antiochus says in the ninth book of his
Histories. What of Erichthonius? was he not buried in the temple of
Polias? And Immarus, the son of Eumolpus and Daira, were they not
buried in the precincts of the Elusinium, which is under the Acropolis; and
the daughters of Celeus, were they not interred in Eleusis? Why should I
enumerate to you the wives of the Hyperboreans? They were called
Hyperoche and Laodice; they were buried in the Artemisium in Delos,
which is in the temple of the Delian Apollo. Leandrius says that Clearchus
was buried in Miletus, in the Didymaeum. Following the Myndian Zeno,
it were unsuitable in this connection to pass over the sepulcher of
Leucophryne, who was buried in the temple of Artemis in Magnesia; or
the altar of Apollo in Telmessus, which is reported to be the tomb of
Telmisseus the seer. Further, Ptolemy the son of Agesarchus, in his first
book about Philopator, says that Cinyras and the descendants of Cinyras
were interred in the temple of Aphrodite in Paphos. But all time would
not be sufficient for me, were I to go over the tombs which are held sacred
by you, And if no shame for these audacious impieties steals over you, it
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comes to this, that you are completely dead, putting, as really you do,
your trust in the dead.
“Poor wretches, what misery is this you suffer?
Your heads are enveloped in the darkness of night.”

CHAPTER 4

THE ABSURDITY AND SHAMEFULNESS OF
THE IMAGES BY WHICH THE GODS ARE WORSHIPPED
If, in addition, I take and set before you for inspection these very images,
you will, as you go over them, find how truly silly is the custom in which
you have been reared, of worshipping the senseless works of men’s hands.
Anciently, then, the Scythians worshipped their sabers, the Arabs stones,
the Persians rivers. And some, belonging to other races still more ancient,
set up blocks of wood in conspicuous situations, and erected pillars of
stone, which were called Xoana, from the carving of the material of which
they were made. The image of Artemis in Icarus was doubtless unwrought
wood, and that of the Cithaeronian Here was a felled tree-trunk; and that
of the Samian Here, as Aethlius says, was at first a plank, and was
afterwards during the government of Proclus carved into human shape.
And when the Xoana began to be made in the likeness of men, they got the
name of Brete, — a term derived from Brotos (man). In Rome, the
historian Varro says that in ancient times the Xoaron of Mars — the idol
by which he was worshipped — was a spear, artists not having yet
applied themselves to this specious pernicious art; but when art
flourished, error increased. That of stones and stocks — and, to speak
briefly, of dead matter — you have made images of human form, by which
you have produced a counterfeit of piety, and slandered the truth, is now
as clear as can be; but such proof as the point may demand must not be
declined.
That the statue of Zeus at Olympia, and that of Polias at Athens, were
executed of gold and ivory by Phidias, is known by everybody; and that
the image of Here in Samos was formed by the chisel of Euclides,
Olympichus relates in his Samiaca. Do not, then, entertain any doubt, that
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of the gods called at Athens venerable, Scopas made two of the stone
called Lychnis, and Calos the one which they are reported to have had
placed between them, as Polemon shows in the fourth of his books
addressed to Timaeus. Nor need you doubt respecting the images of Zeus
and Apollo at Patara, in Lycia, which Phidias executed, as well as the lions
that recline with them; and if, as some say, they were the work of Bryxis,
I do not dispute, — you have in him another maker of images. Whichever
of these you like, write down. Furthermore, the statues nine cubits in
height of Poseidon and Amphitrite, worshipped in Tenos are the work of
Telesius the Athenian, as we are told by Philochorus. Demetrius, in the
second book of his Argolics, writes of the image of Here in Tiryns, both
that the material was pear-tree and the artist was Argus.
Many, perhaps, may be surprised to learn that the Palladium which is
called the Diopetes — that is, fallen from heaven — which Diomede and
Ulysses are related to have carried off from Troy and deposited at
Demophoon, was made of the bones of Pelops, as the Olympian Jove of
other bones — those of the Indian wild beast. I adduce as my authority
Dionysius, who relates this in the fifth part of his Cycle. And Apellas, in
the Delphics, says that there were two Palladia, and that both were
fashioned by men. But that one may suppose that I have passed over
them through ignorance, I shall add that the image of Dionysus Morychus
at Athens was made of the stones called Phellata, and was the work of
Simon the son of Eupalamus, as Polemo says in a letter. There were also
two other sculptors of Crete, as I think: they were called Scyles and
Dipoenus; and these executed the statues of the Dioscuri in Argos, and the
image of Hercules in Tiryns, and the effigy of the Munychian Artemis in
Sicyon. Why should I linger over these, when I can point out to you the
great deity himself, and show you who he was, — whom indeed,
conspicuously above all, we hear to have been considered worthy of
veneration? Him they have dared to speak of as made without hands — I
mean the Egyptian Serapis. For some relate that he was sent as a present
by the people of Sinope to Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of the Egyptians,
who won their favor by sending them corn from Egypt when they were
perishing with famine; and that this idol was an image of Pluto; and
Ptolemy, having received the statue, placed it on the promontory which is
now called Racotis; where the temple of Serapis was held in honor, and the
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sacred enclosure borders on the spot; and that Blistichis the courtesan
having died in Canopus, Ptolemy had her conveyed there, and buried
beneath the forementioned shrine.
Others say that the Serapis was a Pontic idol, and was transported with
solemn pomp to Alexandria. Isidore alone says that it was brought from
the Seleucians, near Antioch, who also had been visited with a dearth of
corn, and had been fed by Ptolemy. But Athenodorns the son of
Sandon, while wishing to make out the Serapis to be ancient, has somehow
slipped into the mistake of proving it to be an image fashioned by human
hands. He says that Sesostris the Egyptian king, having subjugated the
most of the Hellenic races, on his return to Egypt brought a number of
craftsmen with him. Accordingly he ordered a statue of Osiris, his
ancestor, to be executed in sumptuous style; and the work was done by
the artist Bryaxis, not the Athenian, but another of the same name, who
employed in its execution a mixture of various materials. For he had filings
of gold, and silver, and lead, and in addition, tin; and of Egyptian stones
not one was wanting, and there were fragments of sapphire, and hematite,
and emerald, and topaz. Having ground down and mixed together all these
ingredients, he gave to the composition a blue color, whence the darkish
hue of the image; and having mixed the whole with the coloring matter that
was left over from the funeral of Osiris and Apis, molded the Serapis, the
name of which points to its connection with sepulture and its construction
from funeral materials, compounded as it is of Osiris and Apis, which
together make Osirapis.
Another new deity was added to the number with great religious pomp in
Egypt, and was near being so in Greece by the king of the Romans, who
deified Antinous, whom he loved as Zeus loved Ganymede, and whose
beauty was of a very rare order: for lust is not easily restrained, destitute
as it is of fear; and men now observe the sacred nights of Antinous, the
shameful character of which the lover who spent them with him knew
well. Why reckon him among the gods, who is honored on account of
uncleanness? And why do you command him to be lamented as a son?
And why should you enlarge on his beauty? Beauty blighted by vice is
loathsome. Do not play the tyrant, O man, over beauty, nor offer foul
insult to youth in its bloom. Keep beauty pure, that it may be truly fair.
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Be king over beauty, not its tyrant. Remain free, and then I shall
acknowledge thy beauty, because thou hast kept its image pure: then will I
worship that true beauty which is the archetype of all who are beautiful.
Now the grave of the debauched boy is the temple and town of Antinous.
For just as temples are held in reverence, so also are sepulchers, and
pyramids, and mausoleums, and labyrinths, which are temples of the dead,
as the others are sepulchers of the gods. As teacher on this point, I shall
produce to you the Sibyl prophetess: —
“Not the oracular lie of Phoebus,
Whom silly men called God, and falsely termed Prophet;
But the oracles of the great God, who was not made by men’s hands,
Like dumb idols of sculptured stone.”

She also predicts the ruin of the temple, foretelling that that of the
Ephesian Artemis would be engulfed by earthquakes and rents in the
ground, as follows: —
“Prostrate on the ground Ephesus shall wail, weeping by the shore,
And seeking a temple that has no longer an inhabitant.”

She says also that the temple of His and Serapis would be demolished and
burned: —
“His, thrice-wretched goddess, thou shalt linger by the streams of the Nile;
Solitary, frenzied, silent, on the sands of Acheron.”

Then she proceeds: —
“And thou, Serapis, covered with a heap of white tones,
Shalt lie a huge ruin in thrice-wretched Egypt.”

But if you attend not to the prophetess, hear at least your own
philosopher, the Ephesian Heraclitus, upbraiding images with their
senselessness: “And to these images they pray, with the same result as if
one were to talk to the walls of his house.” For are they not to be
wondered at who worship stones, and place them before the doors, as if
capable of activity? They worship Hermes as a god, and place Aguieus as
a doorkeeper. For if people upbraid them with being devoid of sensation,
why worship them as gods? And if they are thought to be endowed with
sensation, why place them before the door? The Romans, who ascribed
their greatest successes to Fortune, and regarded her as a very great deity,
took her statue to the privy, and erected it there, assigning to the goddess
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as a fitting temple — the necessary. But senseless wood and stone, and
rich gold, care not a whit for either savory odor, or blood, or smoke, by
which, being at once honored and fumigated, they are blackened; no more
do they for honor or insult. And these images are more worthless than any
animal. I am at a loss to conceive how objects devoid of sense were deified,
and feel compelled to pity as miserable wretches those that wander in the
mazes of this folly: for if some living creatures have not all the senses, as
worms and caterpillars, and such as even from the first appear imperfect,
as moles and the shrew-mouse, which Nicander says is blind and uncouth;
yet are they superior to those utterly senseless idols and images. For they
have some one sense, — say, for example, hearing, or touching, or
something analogous to smell or taste; while images do not possess even
one sense. There are many creatures that have neither sight, nor hearing,
nor speech, such as the genus of oysters, which yet live and grow, and are
affected by the changes of the moon. But images, being motionless, inert,
and senseless, are bound, nailed, glued, — are melted, filed, sawed,
polished, carved. The senseless earth is dishonored by the makers of
images, who change it by their art from its proper nature, and induce men
to worship it; and the makers of gods worship not gods and demons, but
in my view earth and art, which go to make up images. For, in sooth, the
image is only dead matter shaped by the craftsman’s hand. But we have no
sensible image of sensible matter, but an image that is perceived by the
mind alone, — God, who alone is truly God.
And again, when involved in calamities, the superstitious worshippers of
stones, though they have learned by the event that senseless matter is not
to be worshipped, yet, yielding to the pressure of misfortune, become the
victims of their superstition; and though despising the images, yet not
wishing to appear wholly to neglect them, are found fault with by those
gods by whose names the images are called.
For Dionysius the tyrant, the younger, having stripped off the golden
mantle from the statue of Jupiter in Sicily, ordered him to be clothed in a
woolen one, remarking facetiously that the latter was better than the
golden one, being lighter in summer and warmer in winter. And Antiochus
of Cyzicus, being in difficulties for money, ordered the golden statue of
Zeus, fifteen cubits in height, to be melted; and one like it, of less valuable
material, plated with gold, to be erected in place of it. And the swallows
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and most birds fly to these statues, and void their excrement on them,
paying no respect either to Olympian Zeus, or Epidaurian Asclepius, or
even to Athene Polias, or the Egyptian Serapis; but not even from them
have you learned the senselessness of images. But it has happened that
miscreants or enemies have assailed and set fire to temples, and plundered
them of their votive gifts, and melted even the images themselves, from
base greed of gain. And if a Cambyses or a Darius, or any other madman,
has made such attempts, and if one has killed the Egyptian Apis, I laugh at
him killing their god, while pained at the outrage being perpetrated for the
sake of gain. I will therefore willingly forget such villany, looking on acts
like these more as deeds of covetousness, than as a proof of the impotence
of idols. But fire and earthquakes are shrewd enough not to feel shy or
frightened at either demons or idols, any more than at pebbles heaped by
the waves on the shore.
I know fire to be capable of exposing and curing superstition. If thou art
willing to abandon this folly, the element of fire shall light thy way. This
same fire burned the temple in Argos, with Chrysis the priestess; and that
of Artemis in Ephesus the second time after the Amazons. And the
Capitol in Rome was often wrapped in flames; nor did the fire spare the
temple of Serapis, in the city of the Alexandrians. At Athens it demolished
the temple of the Eleutherian Dionysus; and as to the temple of Apollo at
Delphi, first a storm assailed it, and then the discerning fire utterly
destroyed it. This is told as the preface of what the fire promises. And the
makers of images, do they not shame those of you who are wise into
despising matter? The Athenian Phidias inscribed on the finger of the
Olympian Jove, Pantarkes is beautiful. It was not Zeus that was beautiful
in his eyes, but the man he loved. And Praxiteles, as Posidippus relates in
his book about Cnidus, when he fashioned the statue of Aphrodite of
Cnidus, made it like the form of Cratine, of whom he was enamored, that
the miserable people might have the paramour of Praxiteles to worship.
And when Phryne the courtesan, the Thespian, was in her bloom, all the
painters made their pictures of Aphrodite copies of the beauty of Phryne;
as, again, the sculptors at Athens made their Mercuries like Alcibiades. It
remains for you to judge whether you ought to worship courtesans.
Moved, as I believe, by such facts, and despising such fables, the ancient
kings unblushingly proclaimed themselves gods, as this involved no danger
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from men, and thus taught that on account of their glory they were made
immortal. Ceux, the son of Eolus, was styled Zeus by his wife Alcyone;
Alcyone, again, being by her husband styled Hera. Ptolemy the Fourth
was called Dionysus; and Mithridates of Pontus was also called Dionysus;
and Alexander wished to be considered the son of Ammon, and to have his
statue made horned by the sculptors — eager to disgrace the beauty of the
human form by the addition of a horn. And not kings only, but private
persons dignified themselves with the names of deities, as Menecrates the
physician, who took the name of Zeus. What need is there for me to
instance Alexarchus? He, having been by profession a grammarian,
assumed the character of the sun-god, as Aristus of Salamis relates. And
why mention Nicagorus? He was a native of Zela [in Pontus], and lived in
the days of Alexander. Nicagorus was styled Hermes, and used the dress
of Hermes, as he himself testifies. And whilst whole nations, and cities
with all their inhabitants, sinking into self-flattery, treat the myths about
the gods with contempt, at the same time men themselves, assuming the
air of equality with the gods, and being puffed up with vainglory, vote
themselves extravagant honors. There is the case of the Macedonian Philip
of Pella, the son of Amyntor, to whom they decreed divine worship in
Cynosargus, although his collar-bone was broken, and he had a lame leg,
and had one of his eyes knocked out. And again that of Demetrius, who
was raised to the rank of the gods; and where he alighted from his horse on
his entrance into Athens is the temple of Demetrius the Alighter; and altars
were raised to him everywhere, and nuptials with Athene assigned to him
by the Athenians. But he disdained the goddess, as he could not marry the
statue; and taking the courtesan Lamia, he ascended the Acropolis, and lay
with her on the couch of Athene, showing to the old virgin the postures of
the young courtesan.
There is no cause for indignation, then, at Hippo, who immortalized his
own death. For this Hippo ordered the following elegy to be inscribed on
his tomb: —
“This is the sepulcher of Hippo, whom Destiny
Made, through death, equal to the immortal gods.”

Well done, Hippo! thou showest to us the delusion of men. If they did not
believe thee speaking, now that thou art dead, let them become thy
disciples. This is the oracle of Hippo; let us consider it. The objects of
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your worship were once men, and in process of time died; and fable and
time have raised them to honor. For somehow, what is present is wont to
be despised through familiarity; but what is past, being separated through
the obscurity of time from the temporary censure that attached to it, is
invested with honor by fiction, so that the present is viewed with distrust,
the past with admiration. Exactly in this way is it, then, that the dead men
of antiquity, being reverenced through the long prevalence of delusion
respecting them, are regarded as gods by posterity. As grounds of your
belief in these, there are your mysteries, your solemn assemblies, bonds
and wounds, and weeping deities.
“Woe, woe! that fate decrees my best-belov’d,
Sarpedon, by Patroclus’ hand to fall.”

The will of Zeus was overruled; and Zeus being worsted, laments for
Sarpedon. With reason, therefore, have you yourselves called them shades
and demons, since Homer, paying Athene and the other divinities sinister
honor, has styled them demons: —
“She her heavenward course pursued
To join the immortals in the abode of Jove.”

How, then, can shades and demons be still reckoned gods, being in reality
unclean and impure spirits, acknowledged by all to be of an earthly and
watery nature, sinking downwards by their own weight, and flitting about
graves and tombs, about which they appear dimly, being but shadowy
phantasms? Such things are your gods — shades and shadows; and to
these add those maimed, wrinkled, squinting divinities the Litae, daughters
of Thersites rather than of Zeus. So that Bion — wittily, as I think —
says, How in reason could men pray Zeus for a beautiful progeny, — a
thing he could not obtain for himself?
The incorruptible being, as far as in you lies, you sink in the earth; and
that pure and holy essence you have buried in the grave, robbing the divine
of its true nature.
Why, I pray you, have you assigned the prerogatives of God to what are
no gods? Why, let me ask, have you forsaken heaven to pay divine honor
to earth? What else is gold, or silver, or steel, or iron, or brass, or ivory, or
precious stones? Are they not earth, and of the earth?
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Are not all these things which you look on the progeny of one mother —
the earth?
Why, then, foolish and silly men (for I will repeat it), have you, defaming
the supercelestial region, dragged religion to the ground, by fashioning to
yourselves gods of earth, and by going after those created objects, instead
of the uncreated Deity, have sunk into deepest darkness?
The Parian stone is beautiful, but it is not yet Poseidon. The ivory is
beautiful, but it is not yet the Olympian Zeus. Matter always needs art to
fashion it, but the deity needs nothing. Art has come forward to do its
work, and the matter is clothed with its shape; and while the preciousness
of the material makes it capable of being turned to profitable account, it is
only on account of its form that it comes to be deemed worthy of
veneration. Thy image, if considered as to its origin, is gold, it is wood, it
is stone, it is earth, which has received shape from the artist’s hand. But I
have been in the habit of walking on the earth, not of worshipping it. For I
hold it wrong to entrust my spirit’s hopes to things destitute of the breath
of life. We must therefore approach as close as possible to the images.
How peculiarly inherent deceit is in them, is manifest from their very look.
For the forms of the images are plainly stamped with the characteristic
nature of demons. If one go round and inspect the pictures and images, he
will at a glance recognize your gods from their shameful forms: Dionysus
from his robe; Hephaestus from his art; Demeter from her calamity; Ino
from her head-dress; Poseidon from his trident; Zeus from the swan; the
pyre indicates Heracles; and if one sees a statue of a naked woman without
an inscription, he understands it to be the golden Aphrodite. Thus that
Cyprian Pygmalion became enamored of an image of ivory: the image was
Aphrodite, and it was nude. The Cyprian is made a conquest of by the
mere shape, and embraces the image.
This is related by Philostephanus. A different Aphrodite in Cnidus was of
stone, and beautiful. Another person became enamored of it, and
shamefully embraced the stone. Posidippus relates this. The former of
these authors, in his book on Cyprus, and the latter in his book on Cnidus.
So powerful is art to delude, by seducing amorous men into the pit. Art is
powerful, but it cannot deceive reason, nor those who live agreeably to
reason. The doves on the picture were represented so to the life by the
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painter’s art, that the pigeons flew to them; and horses have neighed to
well-executed pictures of mares. They say that a girl became enamored of
an image, and a comely youth of the statue at Cnidus. But it was the eyes
of the spectators that were deceived by art; for no one in his senses ever
would have embraced a goddess, or entombed himself with a lifeless
paramour, or become enamored of a demon and a stone. But it is with a
different kind of spell that art deludes you, if it leads you not to the
indulgence of amorous affections: it leads you to pay religious honor and
worship to images and pictures.
The picture is like. Well and good! Let art receive its meed of praise, but
let it not deceive man by passing itself off for truth. The horse stands
quiet; the dove flutters not, its wing is motionless. But the cow of
Daedalus, made of wood, allured the savage bull; and art having deceived
him, compelled him to meet a woman full of licentious passion. Such
frenzy have mischief-working arts created in the minds of the insensate.
On the other hand, apes are admired by those who feed and care for them,
because nothing in the shape of images and girls’ ornaments of wax or clay
deceives them. You then will show yourselves inferior to apes by cleaving
to stone, and wood, and gold, and ivory images, and to pictures. Your
makers of such mischievous toys — the sculptors and makers of images,
the painters and workers in metal, and the poets — have introduced a
motley crowd of divinities: in the fields, Satyrs and Pans; in the woods,
Nymphs, and Oreads, and Hamadryads; and besides, in the waters, the
rivers, and fountains, the Naiads; and in the sea the Nereids. And now the
Magi boast that the demons are the ministers of their impiety, reckoning
them among the number of their domestics, and by their charms
compelling them to be their slaves. Besides, the nuptials of the deities,
their begetting and bringing forth of children that are recounted, their
adulteries celebrated in song, their carousals represented in comedy, and
bursts of laughter over their cups, which your authors introduce, urge me
to cry out, though I would fain be silent. Oh the godlessness! You have
turned heaven into a stage; the Divine has become a drama; and what is
sacred you have acted in comedies under the masks of demons, travestying
true religion by your demon-worship [superstition].
“But he, striking the lyre, began to sing beautifully.”
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Sing to us, Homer, that beautiful song
“About the amours of Ares and Venus with the beautiful crown:
How first they slept together in the palace of Hephaestus
Secretly; and he gave many gifts,
and dishonored the bed and chamber of king Hephaestus.”

Stop, O Homer, the song! It is not beautiful; it teaches adultery, and we
are prohibited from polluting our ears with hearing about adultery: for we
are they who bear about with us, in this living and moving image of our
human nature, the likeness of God, — a likeness which dwells with us,
takes counsel with us, associates with us, is a guest with us, feels with us,
feels for us. We have become a consecrated offering to God for Christ's
sake: we are the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation,
the peculiar people, who once were not a people, but are now the people
of God; who, according to John, are not of those who are beneath, but
have learned all from Him who came from above; who have come to
understand the dispensation of God; who have learned to walk in newness
of life. But these are not the sentiments of the many; but, casting off
shame and fear, they depict in their houses the unnatural passions of the
demons. Accordingly, wedded to impurity, they adorn their bed-chambers
with painted tablets hung up in them, regarding licentiousness as religion;
and lying in bed, in the midst of their embraces, they look on that
Aphrodite locked in the embrace of her paramour. And in the hoops of
their rings they cut a representation of the amorous bird that fluttered
round Leda, — having a strong predilection for representations of
effeminacy, — and use a seal stamped with an impression of the
licentiousness of Zeus. Such are examples of your voluptuousness, such
are the theologies of vice, such are the instructions of your gods, who
commit fornication along with you; for what one wishes, that he thinks,
according to the Athenian orator. And of what kind, on the other hand, are
your other images? Diminutive Pans, and naked girls, and drunken Satyrs,
and phallic tokens, painted naked in pictures disgraceful for filthiness. And
more than this: you are not ashamed in the eyes of all to look at
representations of all forms of licentiousness which are portrayed in
public places, but set them up and guard them with scrupulous care,
consecrating these pillars of shamelessness at home, as if, forsooth, they
were the images of your gods, depicting on them equally the postures of
Philaenis and the labors of Heracles. Not only the use of these, but the
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sight of them, and the very hearing of them, we denounce as deserving the
doom of oblivion. Your ears are debauched, your eyes commit fornication,
your looks commit adultery before you embrace. O ye that have done
violence to man, and have devoted to shame what is divine in this
handiwork of God, you disbelieve everything that you may indulge your
passions, and that ye may believe in idols, because you have a craving
after their licentiousness, but disbelieve God, because you cannot bear a
life of self-restraint. You have hated what was better, and valued what was
worse, having been spectators indeed of virtue, but actors of vice. Happy,
therefore, so to say, alone are all those with one accord, —
“Who shall refuse to look on any temples
And altars, worthless seats of dumb stones,
And idols of stone, and images made by hands,
Stained with the life's-blood, and with sacrifices
Of quadrupeds, and bipeds, and fowls, and butcheries of wild beasts.”

For we are expressly prohibited from exercising a deceptive art: “For thou
shalt not make,” says the prophet, “the likeness of anything which is in
heaven above or in the earth beneath.”
For can we possibly any longer suppose the Demeter, and the Core, and
the mystic Iacchus of Praxiteles, to be gods, and not rather regard the art of
Leucippus, or the hands of Apelles, which clothed the material with the
form of the divine glory, as having a better title to the honor? But while
you bestow the greatest pains that the image may be fashioned with the
most exquisite beauty possible, you exercise no care to guard against your
becoming like images for stupidity. Accordingly, with the utmost clearness
and brevity, the prophetic word condemns this practice: “For all the gods
of the nations are the images of demons; but God made the heavens, and
what is in heaven.” Some, however, who have fallen into error, I know not
how, worship God's work instead of God Himself,— the sun and the
moon, and the rest of the starry choir, — absurdly imagining these, which
are but instruments for measuring time, to be gods; “for by His word they
were established, and all their host by the breath of His mouth.”
Human art, moreover, produces houses, and ships, and cities, and pictures.
But how shall I tell what God makes? Behold the whole universe; it is His
work: and the heaven, and the sun, and angels, and men, are the works of
His fingers. How great is the power of God! His bare volition was the
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creation of the universe. For God alone made it, because He alone is truly
God. By the bare exercise of volition He creates; His mere willing was
followed by the springing into being of what He willed. Consequently the
choir of philosophers are in error, who indeed most nobly confess that
man was made for the contemplation of the heavens, but who worship the
objects that appear in the heavens and are apprehended by sight. For if the
heavenly bodies are not the works of men, they were certainly created for
man. Let none of you worship the sun, but set his desires on the Maker of
the sun; nor deify the universe, but seek after the Creator of the universe.
The only refuge, then, which remains for him who would reach the portals
of salvation is divine wisdom. From this, as from a sacred asylum, the man
who presses after salvation, can be dragged by no demon.

CHAPTER 5

THE OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS RESPECTING GOD
Let us then run over, if you choose, the opinions of the philosophers, to
which they give boastful utterance, respecting the gods; that we may
discover philosophy itself, through its conceit making an idol of matter;
although, we are able to show, as we proceed, that even while deifying
certain demons, it has a dream of the truth. The elements were designated
as the first principles of all things by some of them: by Thales of Miletus,
who celebrated water, and Anaximenes, also of Miletus, who celebrated air
as the first principle of all things, and was followed afterwards by
Diogenes of Apollonia. Parmenides of Ella introduced fire and earth as
gods; one of which, namely fire, Hippasus of Metapontum and Heraclitus
of Ephesus supposed a divinity. Empedocles of Agrigentum fell in with a
multitude, and, in addition to those four elements, enumerates
disagreement and agreement. Atheists surely these are to be reckoned, who
through an unwise wisdom worshipped matter, who did not indeed pay
religious honor to stocks and stones, but deified earth, the mother of these,
— who did not make an image of Poseidon, but revered water itself. For
what else, according to the original signification, is Poseidon, but a moist
substance? the name being derived from posis (drink); as, beyond doubt,
the warlike Ares is so called, from arsis (rising up) and anaeresis
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(destroying). For this reason mainly, I think, many fix a sword into the
ground, and sacrifice to it as to Ares. The Scythians have a practice of this
nature, as Eudoxus tells us in the second book of his Travels. The
Sauromatae, too, a tribe of the Scythians, worship a sabre, as Ikesius says
in his work on Mysteries.
This was also the case with Heraclitus and his followers, who worshipped
fire as the first cause; for this fire others named Hephaestus. The Persian
Magi, too, and many of the inhabitants of Asia, worshipped fire; and
besides them, the Macedonians, as Diogenes relates in the first book of his
Persica. Why specify the Sauromatae, who are said by Nymphodorus, in
his Barbaric Customs, to pay sacred honors to fire? or the Persians, or the
Medes, or the Magi? These, Dino tells us, sacrifice beneath the open sky,
regarding fire and water as the only images of the gods.
Nor have I failed to reveal their ignorance; for, however much they think to
keep clear of error in one form, they slide into it in another.
They have not supposed stocks and stones to be images of the gods, like
the Greeks; nor ibises and ichneumons, like the Egyptians; but fire and
water, as philosophers. Berosus, in the third book of his Chaldaics, shows
that it was after many successive periods of years that men worshipped
images of human shape, this practice being introduced by Artaxerxes, the
son of Darius, and father of Ochus, who first set up the image of
Aphrodite Anaitis at Babylon and Susa; and Ecbatana set the example of
worshipping it to the Persians; the Bactrians, to Damascus and Sardis.
Let the philosophers, then, own as their teachers the Persians, or the
Sauromatae, or the Magi, from whom they have learned the impious
doctrine of regarding as divine certain first principles, being ignorant of the
great First Cause, the Maker of all things, and Creator of those very first
principles, the unbeginning God, but reverencing “these weak and beggarly
elements,” as the apostle says, which were made for the service of man.
And of the rest of the philosophers who, passing over the elements, have
eagerly sought after something higher and nobler, some have discanted on
the Infinite, of whom were Anaximander of Miletus, Anaxagoras of
Clazomenae, and the Athenian Archelaus, both of whom set Mind (nou~v)
above Infinity; while the Milesian Leucippus and the Chian Metrodorus
apparently inculcated two first principles — fulness and vacuity.
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Democritus of Abdera, while accepting these two, added to them images
(ei]dwla); while Alcmaeon of Crotona supposed the stars to be gods, and
endowed with life (I will not keep silence as to their effrontery).
Xenocrates of Chalcedon indicates that the planets are seven gods, and
that the universe, composed of all these, is an eighth. Nor will I pass over
those of the Porch, who say that the Divinity pervades all matter, even the
vilest, and thus clumsily disgrace philosophy. Nor do I think will it be
taken ill, having reached this point, to advert to the Peripatetics. The
father of this sect, not knowing the Father of all things, thinks that He
who is called the Highest is the soul of the universe; that is, he supposes
the soul of the world to be God, and so is pierced by his own sword. For
by first limiting the sphere of Providence to the orbit of the moon, and
then by supposing the universe to be God, he confutes himself, inasmuch
as he teaches that that which is without God is God. And that Eresian
Theophrastus, the pupil of Aristotle, conjectures at one time heaven, and
at another spirit, to be God. Epicurus alone I shall gladly forget, who
carries impiety to its full length, and thinks that God takes no charge of
the world. What, moreover, of Heraclides of Pontus? He is dragged
everywhere to the images — the ei]dwla — of Democritus.

CHAPTER 6

BY DIVINE INSPIRATION PHILOSOPHERS
SOMETIMES HIT ON THE TRUTH
A great crowd of this description rushes on my mind, introducing, as it
were, a terrifying apparition of strange demons, speaking of fabulous and
monstrous shapes, in old wives' talk. Far from enjoining men to listen to
such tales are we, who avoid the practice of soothing our crying children,
as the saying is, by telling them fabulous stories, being afraid of fostering
in their minds the impiety professed by those who, though wise in their
own conceit, have no more knowledge of the truth than infants. For why
(in the name of truth!) do you make those who believe you subject to ruin
and corruption, dire and irretrievable? Why, I beseech you, fill up life with
idolatrous images, by feigning the winds, or the air, or fire, or earth, or
stones, or stocks, or steel, or this universe, to be gods; and, prating loftily
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of the heavenly bodies in this much vaunted science of astrology, not
astronomy, to those men who have truly wandered, talk of the wandering
stars as gods? It is the Lord of the spirits, the Lord of the fire, the Maker
of the universe, Him who lighted up the sun, that I long for. I seek after
God, not the works of God. Whom shall I take as a helper in my inquiry?
We do not, if you have no objection, wholly disown Plato. How, then, is
God to be searched out, O Plato? “For both to find the Father and Maker
of this universe is a work of difficulty; and having found Him, to declare
Him fully, is impossible.”
Why so? by Himself, I beseech you! For He can by no means be
expressed. Well done, Plato! Thou hast touched on the truth. But do not
flag. Undertake with me the inquiry respecting the Good. For into all men
whatever, especially those who are occupied with intellectual pursuits, a
certain divine effluence has been instilled; wherefore, though reluctantly,
they confess that God is one, indestructible, unbegotten, and that
somewhere above in the tracts of heaven, in His own peculiar appropriate
eminence, whence He surveys all things, He has an existence true and
eternal.
“Tell me what I am to conceive God to be,
Who sees all things, and is Himself unseen,”

Euripides says. Accordingly, Menander seems to me to have fallen into
error when he said: —
“O sun! for thou, first of gods, ought to be worshipped,
By whom it is that we are able to see the other gods.”

For the sun never could show me the true God; but that healthful Word,
that is the Sun of the soul, by whom alone, when He arises in the depths
of the soul, the eye of the soul itself is irradiated. Whence accordingly,
Democritus, not without reason, says, “that a few of the men of intellect,
raising their hands upwards to what we Greeks now call the air (ajh>r),
called the whole expanse Zeus, or God: He, too, knows all things, gives
and takes away, and He is King of all.”
Of the same sentiments is Plato, who somewhere alludes to God thus:
“Around the King of all are all things, and He is the cause of all good
things.” Who, then, is the King of all? God, who is the measure of the
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truth of all existence. As, then, the things that are to be measured are
contained in the measure, so also the knowledge of God measures and
comprehends truth. And the truly holy Moses says: “There shall not be in
thy bag a balance and a balance, great or small, but a true and just balance
shall be to thee,” deeming the balance and measure and number of the
whole to be God. For the unjust and unrighteous idols are hid at home in
the bag, and, so to speak, in the polluted soul. But the only just measure is
the only true God, always just, continuing the selfsame; who measures all
things, and weighs them by righteousness as in a balance, grasping and
sustaining universal nature in equilibrium. “God, therefore, as the old
saying has it, occupying the beginning, the middle, and the end of all that is
in being, keeps the straight course, while He makes the circuit of nature;
and justice always follows Him, avenging those who violate the divine
law.”
Whence, O Plato, is that hint of the truth which thou givest? Whence this
rich copiousness of diction, which proclaims piety with oracular
utterance? The tribes of the barbarians, he says, are wiser than these; I
know thy teachers, even if thou wouldst conceal them. You have learned
geometry from the Egyptians, astronomy from the Babylonians; the
charms of healing you have got from the Thracians; the Assyrians also
have taught you many things; but for the laws that are consistent with
truth, and your sentiments respecting God, you are indebted to the
Hebrews,
“Who do not worship through vain deceits
The works of men, of gold, and brass, and silver, and ivory,
And images of dead men, of wood and stone,
Which other men, led by their foolish inclinations, worship;
But raise to heaven pure arms:
When they rise from bed, purifying themselves with water,
And worship alone the Eternal, who reigns for ever more.”

And let it not be this one man alone — Plato; but, O philosophy, hasten
to produce many others also, who declare the only true God to be God,
through His inspiration, if in any measure they have grasped the truth. For
Antisthenes did not think out this doctrine of the Cynics; but it is in virtue
of his being a disciple of Socrates that he says, “that God is not like to
any; wherefore no one can know Him from an image.” And Xenophon the
Athenian would have in his own person committed freely to writing
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somewhat of the truth, and given the same testimony as Socrates, had he
not been afraid of the cup of poison, which Socrates had to drink. But he
hints nothing less; he says: “How great and powerful He is who moves all
things, and is Himself at rest, is manifest; but what He is in form is not
revealed. The sun himself, intended to be the source of light to all around,
does not deem it fitting to allow himself to be looked at; but if any one
audaciously gazes on him, he is deprived of sight.” Whence, then, does the
son of Gryllus learn his wisdom? Is it not manifestly from the prophetess
of the Hebrews, who prophesies in the following style? —
“What flesh can see with the eye the celestial,
The true, the immortal God, who inhabits the vault of heaven?
Nay, men born mortal cannot even stand
Before the rays of the sun.”

Cleanthes Pisadeus, the Stoic philosopher, who exhibits not a poetic
theogony, but a true theology, has not concealed what sentiments he
entertained respecting God: —
“If you ask me what is the nature of the good, listen:
That which is regular, just, holy, pious.
Self-governing, useful, fair, fitting,
Grave, independent, always beneficial;
That feels no fear or grief; profitable, painless,
Helpful, pleasant, safe, friendly;
Held in esteem, agreeing with itself, honorable;
Humble, careful, meek, zealous,
Perennial, blameless, ever-during:
Mean is every one who looks to opinion
With the view of obtaining some advantage from it.”

Here, as I think, he clearly teaches of what nature God is; and that the
common opinion and religious customs enslave those that follow them, but
seek not after God.
We must not either keep the Pythagoreans in the background, who say:
“God is one; and He is not, as some suppose, outside of this frame of
things, but within it; but, in all the entireness of His being, is in the whole
circle of existence, surveying all nature, and blending in harmonious union
the whole, — the author of all His own forces and works, the giver of light
in heaven, and Father of all, — the mind and vital power of the whole
world, — the mover of all things.” For the knowledge of God, these
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utterances, written by those we have mentioned through the inspiration of
God, and selected by us, may suffice even for the man that has but small
power to examine into truth.

CHAPTER 7

THE POETS ALSO BEAR TESTIMONY TO THE TRUTH
Let poetry also approach to us (for philosophy alone will not suffice):
poetry which is wholly occupied with falsehood — which scarcely will
make confession of the truth, but will rather own to God its deviations
into fable. Let whoever of those poets chooses advance first. Aratus
considers that the power of God pervades all things: —
“That all may be secure,
Him ever they propitiate first and last,
Hail, Father! great marvel, great gain to man.”

Thus also the Ascraean Hesiod dimly speaks of God: —
“For He is the King of all, and monarch
Of the immortals; and there is none that may vie with Him in power.”

Also on the stage they reveal the truth: —
“Look on the ether and heaven, and regard that as God,”

says Euripides. And Sophocles, the son of Sophilus, says: —
“One, in truth, one is God,
Who made both heaven and the far-stretching earth,
And ocean's blue wave, and the mighty winds;
But many of us mortals, deceived in heart,
Have set up for ourselves, as a consolation in our afflictions,
Images of the gods of stone, or wood, or brass,
Or gold, or ivory;
And, appointing to those sacrifices and vain festal assemblages,
Are accustomed thus to practice religion.”

In this venturous manner has he on the stage brought truth before the
spectators. But the Thracian Orpheus, the son of Oeagrus, hierophant and
poet at once, after his exposition of the orgies, and his theology of idols,
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introduces a palinode of truth with true solemnity, though tardily singing
the strain: —
“I shall utter to whom it is lawful; but let the doors be closed,
Nevertheless, against all the profane. But do thou hear,
O Musaeus, offspring of the light-bringing moon,
For I will declare what is true. And let not these things
Which once appeared in your breast rob you of dear life;
But looking to the divine word, apply yourself to it,
Keeping right the seat of intellect and feeling; and walk well
In the straight path, and to the immortal King of the universe alone
Direct your gaze.”

Then proceeding, he clearly adds: —
“He is one, self-proceeding; and from Him alone all things proceed,
And in them He Himself exerts his activity: no mortal
Beholds Him, but He beholds all.”

Thus far Orpheus at last understood that he had been in error: —
“But linger no longer, O man, endued with varied wisdom;
But turn and retrace your steps, and propitiate God.”

For if, at the most, the Greeks, having received certain scintillations of the
divine word, have given forth some utterances of truth, they bear indeed
witness that the force of truth is not hidden, and at the same time expose
their own weakness in not having arrived at the end. For I think it has now
become evident to all, that those who do or speak aught without the word
of truth are like people compelled to walk without feet. Let the strictures
on your gods, which the poets, impelled by the force of truth, introduce in
their comedies, shame you into salvation. Menander, for instance, the
comic poet, in his drama of the Charioteer, says: —
“No God pleases me that goes about
With an old woman, and enters houses
Carrying a trencher.”

For such are the begging priests of Cybele. Hence Antisthenes replies
appropriately to their request for alms: —
“I do not maintain the mother of the gods,
For the gods maintain her.”
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Again, the same writer of comedy, expressing his dissatisfaction with the
common usages, tries to expose the impious arrogance of the prevailing
error in the drama of the Priestess, sagely declaring: —
“If a man drags the Deity
Whither he will by the sound of cymbals,
He that does this is greater than the Deity;
But these are the instruments of audacity and means of living
Invented by men.”

And not only Menander, but Homer also, and Euripides, and other poets
in great numbers, expose your gods, and are wont to rate them, and that
soundly too. For instance, they call Aphrodite dog-fly, and Hephaestus a
cripple. Helen says to Aphrodite: —
“Thy godship abdicate!
Renounce Olympus!”

And of Dionysus, Homer writes without reserve: —
“He, mid their frantic orgies, in the groves
Of lovely Nyssa, put to shameful rout
The youthful Bacchus' nurses; they in fear,
Dropped each her thyrsus, scattered by the hand
Of fierce Lycurgus, with an ox-goad armed.”

Worthy truly of the Socratic school is Euripides, who fixes his eye on
truth, and despises the spectators of his plays. On one occasion, Apollo,
“Who inhabits the sanctuary that is in the middle of the earth,
Dispensing most certain oracles to mortals,”

is thus exposed: —
“It was in obedience to him that I killed her who brought me forth;
Him do you regard as stained with guilt — put him to death;
It was he that sinned, not I, uninstructed as I was In right and justice.”

He introduces Heracles, at one time mad, at another drunk and gluttonous.
How should he not so represent the god who, when entertained as a guest,
ate green figs to flesh, uttering discordant howls, that even his barbarian
host remarked it? In his drama of Ion, too, he barefacedly brings the gods
on the stage: —
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“How, then, is it right for you, who have given laws to mortals,
To be yourselves guilty of wrong?
And if — what will never take place,
yet I will state the supposition
You will give satisfaction to men for your adulteries,
You, Poseidon, and you, Zeus, the ruler of heaven, —
You will, in order to make recompense for your misdeeds,
Have to empty your temples.”

CHAPTER 8

THE TRUE DOCTRINE IS TO BE SOUGHT IN THE PROPHETS
It is now time, as we have dispatched in order the other points, to go to
the prophetic Scriptures; for the oracles present us with the appliances
necessary for the attainment of piety, and so establish the truth. The
divine Scriptures and institutions of wisdom form the short road to
salvation. Devoid of embellishment, of outward beauty of diction, of
wordiness and seductiveness, they raise up humanity strangled by
wickedness, teaching men to despise the casualties of life; and with one
and the same voice remedying many evils, they at once dissuade us from
pernicious deceit, and clearly exhort us to the attainment of the salvation
set before us. Let the Sibyl prophetess, then, be the first to sing to us the
song of salvation: —
“So He is all sure and unerring:
Come, follow no longer darkness and gloom;
See, the sun's sweet-glancing light shines gloriously.
Know, and lay up wisdom in your hearts:
There is one God, who sends rains, and winds, and earthquakes,
Thunderbolts, famines, plagues, and dismal sorrows,
And snows and ice. But why detail particulars?
He reigns over heaven, He rules earth, He truly is;” —

where, in remarkable accordance with inspiration she compares delusion to
darkness, and the knowledge of God to the sun and light, and subjecting
both to comparison, shows the choice we ought to make. For falsehood is
not dissipated by the bare presentation of the truth, but by the practical
improvement of the truth it is ejected and put to flight.
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Jeremiah the prophet, gifted with consummate wisdom, or rather the Holy
Spirit in Jeremiah, exhibits God. “Am I a God at hand,” he says, “and not
a God afar off? Shall a man do ought in secret, and I not see him? Do I not
fill heaven and earth? Saith the LORD .”
And again by Isaiah, “Who shall measure heaven with a span, and the
whole earth with his hand?” Behold God's greatness, and be filled with
amazement. Let us worship Him of whom the prophet says, “Before Thy
face the hills shall melt, as wax melteth before the fire!” This, says he, is
the God “whose throne is heaven, and His footstool the earth; and if He
open heaven, quaking will seize thee.” Will you hear, too, what this
prophet says of idols? “And they shall be made a spectacle of in the face
of the sun, and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven and
the wild beasts of the earth; and they shall putrefy before the sun and the
moon, which they have loved and served; and their city shall be burned
down.” He says, too, that the elements and the world shall be destroyed.
“The earth,” he says, “shall grow old, and the heaven shall pass away; but
the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” What, then, when again God
wishes to show Himself by Moses: “Behold ye, behold ye, that I AM,
and there is no other God beside Me. I will kill, and I will make to live; I
will strike, and I will heal; and there is none who shall deliver out of My
hands.” But do you wish to hear another seer? You have the whole
prophetic choir, the associates of Moses. What the Holy Spirit says by
Hosea, I will not shrink from quoting: “Lo, I am He that appointeth the
thunder, and createth spirit; and His hands have established the host of
heaven.” And once more by Isaiah. And this utterance I will repeat: “I
am,” he says, “I am the LORD ; I who speak righteousness, announce truth.
Gather yourselves together, and come. Take counsel together, ye that are
saved from the nations. They have not known, they who set up the block
of wood, their carved work, and pray to gods who will not save them.”
Then proceeding: “I am God, and there is not beside Me a just God, and a
Savior: there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and ye will be saved, ye that
are from the end of the earth. I am God, and there is no other; by Myself I
swear.” But against the worshippers of idols he is exasperated, saying,
“To whom will ye liken the LORD , or to what likeness will ye compare
Him? Has not the artificer made the image, or the goldsmith melted the
gold and plated it with gold?” — and so on. Be not therefore idolaters, but
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even now beware of the threatenings; “for the graven images and the works
of men's hands shall wail, or rather they that trust in them,” for matter is
devoid of sensation. Once more he says, “The L ORD will shake the cities
that are inhabited, and grasp the world in His hand like a nest.” Why
repeat to you the mysteries of wisdom, and sayings from the writings of
the son of the Hebrews, the master of wisdom? “The LORD created me the
beginning of His ways, in order to His works.” And, “The L ORD giveth
wisdom, and from His face proceed knowledge and understanding.” “How
long wilt thou lie in bed, O sluggard; and when wilt thou be aroused from
sleep?” “but if thou show thyself no
sluggard, as a fountain thy harvest shall come,” the “Word of the Father,
the benign light, the Lord that bringeth light, faith to all, and salvation.”
For “the LORD who created the earth by His power,” as Jeremiah says,
“has raised up the world by His wisdom;” for wisdom, which is His word,
raises us up to the truth, who have fallen prostrate before idols, and is
itself the first resurrection from our fall. Whence Moses, the man of God,
dissuading from all idolatry, beautifully exclaims, “Hear, O Israel, the
LORD thy God is one LORD; and thou shalt worship the LORD thy
God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” “Now therefore be wise, O men,”
according to that blessed psalmist David; “lay hold on instruction, lest the
Lord be angry, and ye perish from the way of righteousness, when His
wrath has quickly kindled. Blessed are all they who put their trust in
Him.” But already the Lord, in His surpassing pity, has inspired the song
of salvation, sounding like a battle march, “Sons of men, how long will ye
be slow of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after a lie?” What,
then, is the vanity, and what the lie? The holy apostle of the Lord,
reprehending the Greeks, will show thee: “Because that, when they knew
God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became
vain in their imaginations, and changed the glory of God into the likeness
of corruptible man, and worshipped and served the creature more than the
Creator.” And verily this is the God who “in the beginning made the
heaven and the earth.” But you do not know God, and worship the
heaven, and how shall you escape the guilt of impiety? Hear again the
prophet speaking: “The sun, shall suffer eclipse, and the heaven be
darkened; but the Almighty shall shine for ever: while the powers of the
heavens shall be shaken, and the heavens stretched out and drawn together
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shall be rolled as a parchment-skin (for these are the prophetic
expressions), and the earth shall flee away from before the face of the
Lord.”

CHAPTER 9

“THAT THOSE GRIEVOUSLY SIN WHO DESPISE
OR NEGLECT GOD’S GRACIOUS CALLING.”
I could adduce ten thousand Scriptures of which not “one tittle shall pass
away,” without being fulfilled; for the mouth of the Lord the Holy Spirit
hath spoken these things. “Do not any longer,” he says, “my son, despise
the chastening of the LORD, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.” O
surpassing love for man! Not as a teacher speaking to his pupils, not as a
master to his domestics, nor as God to men, but as a father, does the Lord
gently admonish his children. Thus Moses confesses that “he was filled
with quaking and terror” while he listened to God speaking concerning the
Word. And art not thou afraid as thou hearest the voice of the Divine
Word? Art not thou distressed? Do you not fear, and hasten to learn of
Him, — that is, to salvation, — dreading wrath, loving grace, eagerly
striving after the hope set before us, that you may shun the judgment
threatened? Come, come, O my young people! For if you become not
again as little children, and be born again, as saith the Scripture, you shall
not receive the truly existent Father, nor shall you ever enter into the
kingdom of heaven. For in what way is a stranger permitted to enter? Well,
as I take it, then, when he is enrolled and made a citizen, and receives one
to stand to him in the relation of father, then will he be occupied with the
Father’s concerns, then shall he be deemed worthy to be made His heir,
then will he share the kingdom of the Father with His own dear Son. For
this is the first-born Church, composed of many good children; these are
“the first-born enrolled in heaven, who hold high festival with so many
myriads of angels.” We, too, are first-born sons, who are reared by God,
who are the genuine friends of the First-born, who first of all other men
attained to the knowledge of God, who first were wrenched away from our
sins, first severed from the devil. And now the more benevolent God is,
the more impious men are; for He desires us from slaves to become sons,
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while they scorn to become sons. O the prodigious folly of being ashamed
of the Lord! He offers freedom, you flee into bondage; He bestows
salvation, you sink down into destruction; He confers everlasting life, you
wait for punishment, and prefer the fire which the Lord “has prepared for
the devil and his angels.” Wherefore the blessed apostle says: “I testify in
the Lord, that ye walk no longer as the Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their
mind; having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of
God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their
heart: who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to
lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness and concupiscence.” After the
accusation of such a witness, and his invocation of God, what else remains
for the unbelieving than judgment and condemnation? And the Lord, with
ceaseless assiduity, exhorts, terrifies, urges, rouses, admonishes; He
awakes from the sleep of darkness, and raises up those who have
wandered in error. “Awake,” He says, “thou that sleepest, and arise from
the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,” — Christ, the Sun of the
Resurrection, He “who was born before the morning star,” and with His
beams bestows life. Let no one then despise the Word, lest he unwittingly
despise himself. For the Scripture somewhere says, “Today, if ye will
hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of
temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers proved Me by trial.” And
what was the trial? If you wish to learn, the Holy Spirit will show you:
“And saw my works,” He says, “forty years. Wherefore I was grieved
with that generation, and said, They do always err in heart, and have not
known My ways. So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into My
rest.” Look to the threatening! Look to the exhortation! Look to the
punishment! Why, then, should we any longer change grace into wrath,
and not receive the word with open ears, and entertain God as a guest in
pure spirits? For great is the grace of His promise, “if to-day we hear His
voice.” And that today is lengthened out day by day, while it is called
today. And to the end the today and the instruction continue; and then the
true today, the never-ending day of God, extends over eternity. Let us
then ever obey the voice of the divine word. For the today signifies
eternity. And day is the symbol of light; and the light of men is the Word,
by whom we behold God. Rightly, then, to those that have believed and
obey, grace will superabound; while with those that have been unbelieving,
and err in heart, and have not known the Lord’s ways, which John
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commanded to make straight and to prepare, God is incensed, and those
He threatens.
And, indeed, the old Hebrew wanderers in the desert received typically the
end of the threatening; for they are said not to have entered into the rest,
because of unbelief, till, having followed the successor of Moses, they
learned by experience, though late, that they could not be saved otherwise
than by believing on Jesus. But the Lord, in His love to man, invites all
men to the knowledge of the truth, and for this end sends the Paraclete.
What, then, is this knowledge? Godliness; and “godliness,” according to
Paul, “is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now
is, and of that which is to come.” If eternal salvation were to be sold, for
how much, O men, would you propose to purchase it? Were one to
estimate the value of the whole of Pactolus, the fabulous river of gold, he
would not have reckoned up a price equivalent to salvation.
Do not, however, faint. You may, if you choose, purchase salvation,
though of inestimable value, with your own resources, love and living
faith, which will be reckoned a suitable price. This recompense God
cheerfully accepts; “for we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all
men, especially of those who believe.”
But the rest, round whom the world’s growths have fastened, as the rocks
on the sea-shore are covered over with sea-weed, make light of
immortality, like the old man of Ithaca, eagerly longing to see, not the
truth, not the fatherland in heaven, not the true light, but smoke. But
godliness, that makes man as far as can be like God, designates God as our
suitable teacher, who alone can worthily assimilate man to God. This
teaching the apostle knows as truly divine. “Thou, O Timothy,” he says,
“from a child hast known the holy letters, which are able to make thee
wise unto salvation, through faith that is in Christ Jesus.” For truly holy
are those letters that sanctify and deify; and the writings or volumes that
consist of those holy letters and syllables, the same apostle consequently
calls “inspired of God, being profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be
perfect, thoroughly furnished to every good work.” No one will be so
impressed by the exhortations of any of the saints, as he is by the words
of the Lord Himself, the lover of man. For this, and nothing but this, is His
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only work — the salvation of man. Therefore He Himself, urging them on
to salvation, cries, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Those men that
draw near through fear, He converts. Thus also the apostle of the Lord,
beseeching the Macedonians, becomes the interpreter of the divine voice,
when he says, “The Lord is at hand; take care that ye be not apprehended
empty.” But are ye so devoid of fear, or rather of faith, as not to believe
the Lord Himself, or Paul, who in Christ’s stead thus entreats: “Taste and
see that Christ is God?” Faith will lead you in; experience will teach you;
Scripture will train you, for it says, “Come hither, O children; listen to me,
and I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Then, as to those who already
believe, it briefly adds, “What man is he that desireth life, that loveth to
see good days?” It is we, we shall say — we who are the devotees of good,
we who eagerly desire good things. Hear, then, ye who are far off, hear ye
who are near: the word has not been hidden from any; light is common, it
shines “on all men.” No one is a Cimmerian in respect to the word. Let us
haste to salvation, to regeneration; let us who are many haste that we may
be brought together into one love, according to the union of the essential
unity; and let us, by being made good, conformably follow after union,
seeking after the good Monad.
The union of many in one, issuing in the production of divine harmony out
of a medley of sounds and division, becomes one symphony following one
choir-leader and teacher, the Word, reaching and resting in the same truth,
and crying Abba, Father. This, the true utterance of His children, God
accepts with gracious welcome — the first-fruits He receives from them.

CHAPTER 10

ANSWER TO THE OBJECTION OF THE HEATHEN,
THAT IT WAS NOT RIGHT TO ABANDON
THE CUSTOMS OF THEIR FATHERS
But you say it is not creditable to subvert the customs handed down to us
from our fathers. And why, then, do we not still use our first nourishment,
milk, to which our nurses accustomed us from the time of our birth? Why
do we increase or diminish our patrimony, and not keep it exactly the
same as we got it? Why do we not still vomit on our parents’ breasts, or
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still do the things for which, when infants, and nursed by our mothers, we
were laughed at, but have corrected ourselves, even if we did not fall in
with good instructors? Then, if excesses in the indulgence of the passions,
though pernicious and dangerous, yet are accompanied with pleasure, why
do we not in the conduct of life abandon that usage which is evil, and
provocative of passion, and godless, even should our fathers feel hurt, and
betake ourselves to the truth, and seek Him who is truly our Father,
rejecting custom as a deleterious drug? For of all that I have undertaken to
do, the task I now attempt is the noblest, viz., to demonstrate to you how
inimical this insane and most wretched custom is to godliness. For a boon
so great, the greatest ever given by God to the human race, would never
have been hated and rejected, had not you been carried away by custom,
and then shut your ears against us; and just as unmanageable horses throw
off the reins, and take the bit between their teeth, you rush away from the
arguments addressed to you, in your eager desire to shake yourselves clear
of us, who seek to guide the chariot of your life, and, impelled by your
folly, dash towards the precipices of destruction, and regard the holy word
of God as an accursed thing. The reward of your choice, therefore, as
described by Sophocles, follows: —
“The mind a blank, useless ears, vain thoughts.”

And you know not that, of all truths, this is the truest, that the good and
godly shall obtain the good reward, inasmuch as they held goodness in high
esteem; while, on the other hand, the wicked shall receive meet
punishment. For the author of evil, torment has been prepared; and so the
prophet Zecharias threatens him: “He that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke
thee; lo, is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” What an infatuated
desire, then, for voluntary death is this, rooted in men’s minds! Why do
they flee to this fatal brand, with which they shall be burned, when it is
within their power to live nobly according to God, and not according to
custom? For God bestows life freely; but evil custom, after our departure
from this world, brings on the sinner unavailing remorse with punishment.
By sad experience, even a child knows how superstition destroys and
piety saves. Let any of you look at those who minister before the idols,
their hair matted, their persons disgraced with filthy and tattered clothes;
who never come near a bath, and let their nails grow to an extraordinary
length, like wild beasts; many of them castrated, who show the idol’s
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temples to be in reality graves or prisons. These appear to me to bewail
the gods, not to worship them, and their sufferings to be worthy of pity
rather than piety. And seeing these things, do you still continue blind, and
will you not look up to the Ruler of all, the Lord of the universe? And will
you not escape from those dungeons, and flee to the mercy that comes
down from heaven? For God, of His great love to man, comes to the help
of man, as the mother-bird flies to one of her young that has fallen out of
the nest; and if a serpent open its mouth to swallow the little bird, “the
mother flutters round, uttering cries of grief over her dear progeny;” and
God the Father seeks His creature, and heals his transgression, and
pursues the serpent, and recovers the young one, and incites it to fly up to
the nest.
Thus dogs that have strayed, track out their master by the scent; and
horses that have thrown their riders, come to their master’s call if he but
whistle. “The ox,” it is said, “knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s
crib; but Israel hath not known Me.” What, then, of the Lord? He
remembers not our ill desert; He still pities, He still urges us to repentance.
And I would ask you, if it does not appear to you monstrous, that you
men who are God’s handiwork, who have received your souls from Him,
and belong wholly to God, should be subject to another master, and, what
is more, serve the tyrant instead of the rightful King — the evil one instead
of the good? For, in the name of truth, what man in his senses turns his
back on good, and attaches himself to evil? What, then, is he who flees
from God to consort with demons? Who, that may become a son of God,
prefers to be in bondage? Or who is he that pursues his way to Erebus,
when it is in his power to be a citizen of heaven, and to cultivate Paradise,
and walk about in heaven and partake of the tree of life and immortality,
and, cleaving his way through the sky in the track of the luminous cloud,
behold, like Elias, the rain of salvation? Some there are, who, like worms
wallowing in marshes and mud in the streams of pleasure, feed on foolish
and useless delights — swinish men. For swine, it is said, like mud better
than pure water; and, according to Democritus, “doat upon dirt.”
Let us not then be enslaved or become swinish; but, as true children of the
light, let us raise our eyes and look on the light, lest the Lord discover us
to be spurious, as the sun does the eagles. Let us therefore repent, and
pass from ignorance to knowledge, from foolishness to wisdom, from
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licentiousness to self-restraint, from unrighteousness to righteousness,
from godlessness to God. It is an enterprise of noble daring to take our
way to God; and the enjoyment of many other good things is within the
reach of the lovers of righteousness, who pursue eternal life, specially
those things to which God Himself alludes, speaking by Isaiah: “There is
an inheritance for those who serve the LORD.” Noble and desirable is this
inheritance: not gold, not silver, not raiment, which the moth assails, and
things of earth which are assailed by the robber, whose eye is dazzled by
worldly wealth; but it is that treasure of salvation to which we must
hasten, by becoming lovers of the Word. Thence praise-worthy works
descend to us, and fly with us on the wing of truth. This is the inheritance
with which the eternal covenant of God invests us, conveying the
everlasting gift of grace; and thus our loving Father — the true Father —
ceases not to exhort, admonish, train, love us. For He ceases not to save,
and advises the best course: “Become righteous,” says the Lord. Ye that
thirst, come to the water; and ye that have no money, come, and buy and
drink without money. He invites to the laver, to salvation, to illumination,
all but crying out and saying, The land I give thee, and the sea, my child,
and heaven too; and all the living creatures in them I freely bestow upon
thee. Only, O child, thirst for thy Father; God shall be revealed to thee
without price; the truth is not made merchandise of. He gives thee all
creatures that fly and swim, and those on the land. These the Father has
created for thy thankful enjoyment. What the bastard, who is a son of
perdition, foredoomed to be the slave of mammon, has to buy for money,
He assigns to thee as thine own, even to His own son who loves the
Father; for whose sake He still works, and to whom alone He promises,
saying, “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity,” for it is not destined to
corruption. “For the whole land is mine;” and it is thine too, if thou receive
God. Wherefore the Scripture, as might have been expected, proclaims
good news to those who have believed. “The saints of the Lord shall
inherit the glory of God and His power.” What glory, tell me, O blessed
One, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the
heart of man;” and “they shall be glad in the kingdom of their Lord for ever
and ever! Amen.” You have, O men, the divine promise of grace; you have
heard, on the other hand, the threatening of punishment: by these the Lord
saves, teaching men by fear and grace. Why do we delay? Why do we not
shun the punishment? Why do we not receive the free gift? Why, in fine
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do we not choose the better part, God instead of the evil one, and prefer
wisdom to idolatry, and take life in exchange for death? “Behold,” He
says, “I have set before your face death and life.” The Lord tries you, that
“you may choose life.” He counsels you as a father to obey God. “For if
ye hear Me,” He says, “and be willing, ye shall eat the good things of the
land:” this is the grace attached to obedience. “But if ye obey Me not, and
are unwilling, the sword and fire shall devour you:” this is the penalty of
disobedience. For the mouth of the Lord — the law of truth, the word of
the Lord — hath spoken these things. Are you willing that I should be
your good counselor? Well, do you hear. I, if possible, will explain. You
ought, O men, when reflecting on the Good, to have brought forward a
witness inborn and competent, viz., faith, which of itself, and from its
own resources, chooses at once what is best, instead of occupying
yourselves in painfully inquiring whether what is best ought to be
followed. For, allow me to tell you, you ought to doubt whether you
should get drunk, but you get drunk before reflecting on the matter; and
whether you ought to do an injury, but you do injury with the utmost
readiness. The only thing you make the subject of question is, whether
God should be worshipped, and whether this wise God and Christ should
be followed: and this you think requires deliberation and doubt, and know
not what is worthy of God. Have faith in us, as you have in drunkenness,
that you may be wise; have faith in us, as you have in injury, that you
may live. But if, acknowledging the conspicuous trustworthiness of the
virtues, you wish to trust them, come and I will set before you in
abundance, materials of persuasion respecting the Word. But do you —
for your ancestral customs, by which your minds are preoccupied, divert
you from the truth, — do you now hear what is the real state of the case
as follows.
And let not any shame of this name preoccupy you, which does great
harm to men, and seduces them from salvation. Let us then openly strip
for the contest, and nobly strive in the arena of truth, the holy Word being
the judge, and the Lord of the universe prescribing the contest. For ’tis no
insignificant prize, the guerdon of immortality which is set before us. Pay
no more regard, then, if you are rated by some of the low rabble who lead
the dance of impiety, and are driven on to the same pit by their folly and
insanity, makers of idols and worshippers of stones. For these have dared
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to deify men, — Alexander of Macedon, for example, whom they
canonized as the thirteenth god, whose pretensions Babylon confuted,
which showed him dead. I admire, therefore, the divine sophist. Theocritus
was his name. After Alexander’s death, Theocritus, holding up the vain
opinions entertained by men respecting the gods, to ridicule before his
fellow-citizens, said: “Men, keep up your hearts as long as you see the
gods dying sooner than men.” And, truly, he who worships gods that are
visible, and the promiscuous rabble of creatures begotten and born, and
attaches himself to them, is a far more wretched object than the very
demons. For God is by no manner of means unrighteous, as the demons
are, but in the very highest degree righteous; and nothing more resembles
God than one of us when he becomes righteous in the highest possible
degree: —
“Go into the way, the whole tribe of you handicrafts-men,
Who worship Jove’s fierce-eyed daughter, the working goddess,
With fans duly placed, fools that ye are” —

fashioners of stones, and worshippers of them. Let your Phidias, and
Polycletus, and your Praxiteles and Apelles too, come, and all that are
engaged in mechanical arts, who, being themselves of the earth, are workers
of the earth. “For then,” says a certain prophecy, “the affairs here turn out
unfortunately, when men put their trust in images.” Let the meaner artists,
too — for I will not stop calling — come. None of these ever made a
breathing image, or out of earth molded soft flesh. Who liquefied the
marrow? or who solidified the bones? Who stretched the nerves? who
distended the veins? Who poured the blood into them? Or who spread the
skin? Who ever could have made eyes capable of seeing? Who breathed
spirit into the lifeless form? Who bestowed righteousness? Who promised
immortality? The Maker of the universe alone; the Great Artist and Father
has formed us, such a living image as man is. But your Olympian Jove, the
image of an image, greatly out of harmony with truth, is the senseless
work of Attic hands. For the image of God is His Word, the genuine Son
of Mind, the Divine Word, the archetypal light of light; and the image of
the Word is the true man, the mind which is in man, who is therefore said
to have been made “in the image and likeness of God,” assimilated to the
Divine Word in the affections of the soul, and therefore rational; but
effigies sculptured in human form, the earthly image of that part of man
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which is visible and earth-born, are but a perishable impress of humanity,
manifestly wide of the truth. That life, then, which is occupied with so
much earnestness about matter, seems to me to be nothing else than full of
insanity. And custom, which has made you taste bondage and
unreasonable care, is fostered by vain opinion; and ignorance, which has
proved to the human race the cause of unlawful rites and delusive shows,
and also of deadly plagues and hateful images, has, by devising many
shapes of demons, stamped on all that follow it the mark of long-
continued death. Receive, then, the water of the word; wash, ye polluted
ones; purify yourselves from custom, by sprinkling yourselves with the
drops of truth. The pure must ascend to heaven. Thou art a man, if we
look to that which is most common to thee and others — seek Him who
created thee; thou art a son, if we look to that which is thy peculiar
prerogative — acknowledge thy Father. But do you still continue in your
sins, engrossed with pleasures? To whom shall the Lord say, “Yours is the
kingdom of heaven?” Yours, whose choice is set on God, if you will;
yours, if you will only believe, and comply with the brief terms of the
announcement; which the Ninevites having obeyed, instead of the
destruction they looked for, obtained a signal deliverance. How, then, may
I ascend to heaven, is it said? The Lord is the way; a strait way, but
leading from heaven, strait in truth, but leading back to heaven, strait,
despised on earth; broad, adored in heaven.
Then, he that is uninstructed in the word, has ignorance as the excuse of
his error; but as for him into whose ears instruction has been poured, and
who deliberately maintains his incredulity in his soul, the wiser he appears
to be, the more harm will his understanding do him; for he has his own
sense as his accuser for not having chosen the best part. For man has been
otherwise constituted by nature, so as to have fellowship with God. As,
then, we do not compel the horse to plow, or the bull to hunt, but set each
animal to that for which it is by nature fitted; so, placing our finger on
what is man’s peculiar and distinguishing characteristic above other
creatures, we invite him — born, as he is, for the contemplation of heaven,
and being, as he is, a truly heavenly plant — to the knowledge of God,
counseling him to furnish himself with what is his sufficient provision for
eternity, namely piety. Practice husbandry, we say, if you are a
husbandman; but while you till your fields, know God. Sail the sea, you
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who are devoted to navigation, yet call the whilst on the heavenly Pilot.
Has knowledge taken hold of you while engaged in military service? Listen
to the commander, who orders what is right. As those, then, who have
been overpowered with sleep and drunkenness, do ye awake; and using
your eyes a little, consider what mean those stones which you worship,
and the expenditure you frivolously lavish on matter. Your means and
substance you squander on ignorance, even as you throw away your lives
to death, having found no other end of your vain hope than this. Not only
unable to pity yourselves, you are incapable even of yielding to the
persuasions of those who commiserate you; enslaved as you are to evil
custom, and, clinging to it voluntarily till your last breath, you are hurried
to destruction: “because light is come into the world, and men have loved
the darkness rather than the light,” while they could sweep away those
hindrances to salvation, pride, and wealth, and fear, repeating this poetic
utterance: —
“Whither do I bear these abundant riches? and whither
Do I myself wander?”

If you wish, then, to cast aside these vain phantasies, and bid adieu to evil
custom, say to vain opinion: —
“Lying dreams, farewell; you were then nothing.”

For what, think you, O men, is the Hermes of Typho, and that of
Andocides, and that of Amyetus? Is it not evident to all that they are
stones, as is the veritable Hermes himself? As the Halo is not a god, and as
the his is not a god, but are states of the atmosphere and of the clouds; and
as, likewise, a day is not a god, nor a year, nor time, which is made up of
these, so neither is sun nor moon, by which each of those mentioned above
is determined. Who, then, in his right senses, can imagine Correction, and
Punishment, and Justice, and Retribution to be gods? For neither the
Furies, nor the Fates, nor Destiny are gods, since neither Government, nor
Glory, nor Wealth are gods, which last [as Plutus] painters represent as
blind. But if you deify Modesty, and Love, and Venus, let these be
followed by Infamy, and Passion, and Beauty, and Intercourse. Therefore
Sleep and Death cannot reasonably any more be regarded as twin deities,
being merely changes which take place naturally in living creatures; no
more will you with propriety call Fortune, or Destiny, or the Fates
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goddesses. And if Strife and Battle be not gods, no more are Ares and
Enyo. Still further, if the lightnings, and thunderbolts, and rains are not
gods, how can fire and water be gods? how can shooting stars and comets,
which are produced by atmospheric changes? He who calls Fortune a god,
let him also so call Action. If, then, none of these, nor of the images
formed by human hands, and destitute of feeling, is held to be a god, while
a providence exercised about us is evidently the result of a divine power, it
remains only to acknowledge this, that He alone who is truly God, only
truly is and subsists. But those who are insensible to this are like men who
have drunk mandrake or some other drug. May God grant that you may at
length awake from this slumber, and know God; and that neither Gold, nor
Stone, nor Tree, nor Action, nor Suffering, nor Disease, nor Fear, may
appear in your eyes as a god. For there are, in sooth, “on the fruitful earth
thrice ten thousand” demons, not immortal, nor indeed mortal; for they are
not endowed with sensation, so as to render them capable of death, but
only things of wood and stone, that hold despotic sway over men insulting
and violating life through the force of custom. “The earth is the LORD’S,”
it is said, “and the fullness thereof.” Then why darest thou, while
luxuriating in the bounties of the Lord, to ignore the Sovereign Ruler?
“Leave my earth,” the Lord will say to thee. “Touch not the water which I
bestow. Partake not of the fruits of the earth produced by my husbandry.”
Give to God recompense for your sustenance; acknowledge thy Master.
Thou art God’s creature. What belongs to Him, how can it with justice be
alienated? For that which is alienated, being deprived of the properties that
belonged to it, is also deprived of truth. For, after the fashion of Niobe, or,
to express myself more mystically, like the Hebrew woman called by the
ancients Lot’s wife, are ye not turned into a state of insensibility? This
woman we have heard, was turned into stone for her love of Sodore. And
those who are godless, addicted to impiety, hard-hearted and foolish are
Sodomites. Believe that these utterances are addressed to you from God.
For think not that stones, and stocks, and birds, and serpents are sacred
things, and men are not; but, on the contrary, regard men as truly sacred,
and take beasts and stones for what they are. For there are miserable
wretches of human kind, who consider that God utters His voice by the
raven and the jackdaw, but says nothing by man; and honor the raven as a
messenger of God. But the man of God, who croaks not, nor chatters, but
speaks rationally and instructs lovingly, alas, they persecute; and while he
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is inviting them to cultivate righteousness, they try inhumanly to slay him,
neither welcoming the grace which, comes from above, nor fearing the
penalty. For they believe not God, nor understand His power, whose love
to man is ineffable; and His hatred of evil is inconceivable. His anger
augments punishment against sin; His love bestows blessings on
repentance. It is the height of wretchedness to be deprived of the help
which comes from God. Hence this blindness of eyes and dullness of
hearing are more grievous than other inflictions of the evil one; for the one
deprives them of heavenly vision, the other robs them of divine
instruction. But ye, thus maimed as respects the truth, blind in mind, deaf
in understanding, are not grieved, are not pained, have had no desire to see
heaven and the Maker of heaven, nor, by fixing your choice on salvation,
have sought to hear the Creator of the universe, and to learn of Him; for no
hindrance stands in the way of him who is bent on the knowledge of God.
Neither childlessness, nor poverty, nor obscurity, nor want, can hinder
him who eagerly strives after the knowledge of God; nor does any one
who has conquered by brass or iron the true wisdom for himself choose to
exchange it, for it is vastly preferred to everything else. Christ is able to
save in every place. For he that is fired with ardor and admiration for
righteousness, being the lover of One who needs nothing, needs himself
but little, having treasured up his bliss in nothing but himself and God,
where is neither moth, robber, nor pirate, but the eternal Giver of good.
With justice, then, have you been compared to those serpents who shut
their ears against the charmers. For “their mind,” says the Scripture, “is
like the serpent, like the deaf adder, which stoppeth her ear, and will not
hear the voice of the charmers.” But allow yourselves to feel the influence
of the charming strains of sanctity, and receive that mild word of ours, and
reject the deadly poison, that it may be granted to you to divest
yourselves as much as possible of destruction, as they have been divested
of old age. Hear me, and do not stop your ears; do not block up the
avenues of hearing, but lay to heart what is said. Excellent is the medicine
of immortality! Stop at length your groveling reptile motions. “For the
enemies of the Lord,” says Scripture, “shall lick the dust.” Raise your eyes
from earth to the skies, look up to heaven, admire the sight, cease watching
with outstretched head the heel of the righteous, and hindering the way of
truth. Be wise and harmless. Perchance the Lord will endow you with the
wing of simplicity (for He has resolved to give wings to those that are
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earth-born), that you may leave your holes and dwell in heaven. Only let
us with our whole heart repent, that we may be able with our whole heart
to contain God. “Trust in Him, all ye assembled people; pour out all your
hearts before Him.” He says to those that have newly abandoned
wickedness, “He pities them, and fills them with righteousness.” Believe
Him who is man and God; believe, O man. Believe, O man, the living God,
who suffered and is adored. Believe, ye slaves, Him who died; believe, all
ye of human kind, Him who alone is God of all men. Believe, and receive
salvation as your reward. Seek God, and your soul shall live. He who
seeks God is busying himself about his own salvation. Hast thou found
God? — then thou hast life. Let us then seek, in order that we may live.
The reward of seeking is life with God. “Let all who seek Thee be glad and
rejoice in Thee; and let them say continually, God be magnified.” A noble
hymn of God is an immortal man, established in righteousness, in whom
the oracles of truth are engraved. For where but in a soul that is wise can
you write truth? where love? where reverence? where meekness? Those
who have had these divine characters impressed on them, ought, I think, to
regard wisdom as a fair port whence to embark, to whatever lot in life they
turn; and likewise to deem it the calm haven of salvation: wisdom, by
which those who have betaken themselves to the Father, have proved good
fathers to their children; and good parents to their sons, those who have
known the Son; and good husbands to their wives, those who remember
the Bridegroom; and good masters to their servants, those who have been
redeemed from utter slavery. Oh, happier far the beasts than men involved
in error! who live in ignorance as you, but do not counterfeit the truth.
There are no tribes of flatterers among them. Fishes have no superstition:
the birds worship not a single image; only they look with admiration on
heaven, since, deprived as they are of reason, they are unable to know
God. So are you not ashamed for living through so many periods of life in
impiety, making yourselves more irrational than irrational creatures? You
were boys, then striplings, then youths, then men, but never as yet were
you good. If you have respect for old age, be wise, now that you have
reached life’s sunset; and albeit at the close of life, acquire the knowledge
of God, that the end of life may to you prove the beginning of salvation.
You have become old in superstition; as young, enter on the practice of
piety. God regards you as innocent children. Let, then, the Athenian
follow the laws of Solon, and the Argive those of Phoroneus, and the
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Spartan those of Lycurgus: but if thou enroll thyself as one of God’s
people, heaven is thy country, God thy lawgiver. And what are the laws?
“Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not seduce
boys; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt
love the Lord thy God.” And the complements of these are those laws of
reason and words of sanctity which are inscribed on men’s hearts: “Thou
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself; to him who strikes thee on the cheek,
present also the other;” “thou shalt not lust, for by lust alone thou hast
committed adultery.” How much better, therefore, is it for men from the
beginning not to wish to desire things forbidden, than to obtain their
desires! But ye are not able to endure the austerity of salvation; but as we
delight in sweet things, and prize them higher for the agreeableness of the
pleasure they yield, while, on the other hand, those bitter things which are
distasteful to the palate are curative and healing, and the harshness of
medicines strengthens people of weak stomach, thus custom pleases and
tickles; but custom pushes into the abyss, while truth conducts to heaven.
Harsh it is at first, but a good nurse of youth; and it is at once the
decorous place where the household maids and matrons dwell together,
and the sage council-chamber. Nor is it difficult to approach, or impossible
to attain, but is very near us in our very homes; as Moses, endowed with
all wisdom, says, while referring to it, it has its abode in three departments
of our constitution — in the hands, the mouth, and the heart: a meet
emblem this of truth, which is embraced by these three things in all —
will, action, speech. And be not afraid lest the multitude of pleasing
objects which rise before you withdraw you from wisdom. You yourself
will spontaneously surmount the frivolousness of custom, as boys when
they have become men throw aside their toys. For with a celerity
unsurpassable, and a benevolence to which we have ready access, the
divine power, casting its radiance on the earth, hath filled the universe with
the seed of salvation. For it was not without divine care that so great a
work was accomplished in so brief a space by the Lord, who, though
despised as to appearance, was in reality adored, the expiator of sin, the
Savior, the clement, the Divine Word, He that is truly most manifest
Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was
His Son, and the Word was in God, not disbelieved in by all when He was
first preached, nor altogether unknown when, assuming the character of
man, and fashioning Himself in flesh, He enacted the drama of human
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salvation: for He was a true champion and a fellow-champion with the
creature. And being communicated most speedily to men, having dawned
from His Father’s counsel quicker than the sun, with the most perfect ease
He made God shine on us. Whence He was and what He was, He showed
by what He taught and exhibited, manifesting Himself as the Herald of the
Covenant, the Reconciler, our Savior, the Word, the Fount of life, the
Giver of peace, diffused over the whole face of the earth; by whom, so to
speak, the universe has already become an ocean of blessings.

CHAPTER 11

HOW GREAT ARE THE BENEFITS CONFERRED
ON MAN THROUGH THE ADVENT OF CHRIST
Contemplate a little, if agreeable to you, the divine beneficence. The first
man, when in Paradise, sported free, because he was the child of God; but
when he succumbed to pleasure (for the serpent allegorically signifies
pleasure crawling on its belly, earthly wickedness nourished for fuel to the
flames), was as a child seduced by lusts, and grew old in disobedience; and
by disobeying his Father, dishonored God. Such was the influence of
pleasure. Man, that had been free by reason of simplicity, was found
fettered to sins. The Lord then wished to release him from his bonds, and
clothing Himself with flesh — O divine mystery! — vanquished the
serpent, and enslaved the tyrant death; and, most marvelous of all, man
that had been deceived by pleasure, and bound fast by corruption, had his
hands unloosed, and was set free. O mystic wonder! The Lord was laid
low, and man rose up; and he that fell from Paradise receives as the reward
of obedience something greater [than Paradise] — namely, heaven itself.
Wherefore, since the Word Himself has come to us from heaven, we need
not, I reckon, go any more in search of human learning to Athens and the
rest of Greece, and to Ionia. For if we have as our teacher Him that filled
the universe with His holy energies in creation, salvation, beneficence,
legislation, prophecy, teaching, we have the Teacher from whom all
instruction comes; and the whole world, with Athens and Greece, has
already become the domain of the Word. For you, who believed the
poetical fable which designated Minos the Cretan as the bosom friend of
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Zeus, will not refuse to believe that we who have become the disciples of
God have received the only true wisdom; and that which the chiefs of
philosophy only guessed at, the disciples of Christ have both
apprehended and proclaimed. And the one whole Christ is not divided:
“There is neither barbarian, nor Jew, nor Greek, neither male nor female,
but a new man,” transformed by God’s Holy Spirit. Further, the other
counsels and precepts are unimportant, and respect particular things, —
as, for example, if one may marry, take part in public affairs, beget
children; but the only command that is universal, and over the whole
course of existence, at all times and in all circumstances, tends to the
highest end, viz., life, is piety, — all that is necessary, in order that we
may live for ever, being that we live in accordance with it. Philosophy,
however, as the ancients say, is “a long-lived exhortation, wooing the
eternal love of wisdom;” while the commandment of the Lord is far-
shining, “enlightening the eyes.” Receive Christ, receive sight, receive thy
light,
“In order that you may know well both God and man.”

“Sweet is the Word that gives us light, precious above gold and gems; it is
to be desired above honey and the honey-comb.” For how can it be other
than desirable, since it has filled with light the mind which had been buried
in darkness, and given keenness to the “light-bringing eyes” of the soul?
For just as, had the sun not been in existence, night would have brooded
over the universe notwithstanding the other luminaries of heaven; so, had
we not known the Word, and been illuminated by Him, we should have
been nowise different from fowls that are being fed, fattened in darkness,
and nourished for death. Let us then admit the light, that we may admit
God; let us admit the light, and become disciples to the Lord. This, too, He
has been promised to the Father: “I will declare Thy name to my brethren;
in the midst of the Church will I praise Thee.” Praise and declare to me
Thy Father God; Thy utterances save; Thy hymn teaches that hitherto I
have wandered in error, seeking God. But since Thou leadest me to the
light, O Lord, and I find God through Thee, and receive the Father from
Thee, I become “Thy fellow-heir,” since Thou “wert not ashamed of me as
Thy brother.” Let us put away, then, let us put away oblivion of the
truth, viz., ignorance; and removing the darkness which obstructs, as
dimness of sight, let us contemplate the only true God, first raising our
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voice in this hymn of praise: Hail, O light! For in us, buried in darkness,
shut up in the shadow of death, light has shone forth from heaven, purer
than the sun, sweeter than life here below. That light is eternal life; and
whatever partakes of it lives. But night fears the light, and hiding itself in
terror, gives place to the day of the Lord. Sleepless light is now over all,
and the west has given credence to the east. For this was the end of the
new creation. For “the Sun of Righteousness,” who drives His chariot over
all, pervades equally all humanity, like “His Father, who makes His sun to
rise on all men,” and distills on them the dew of the truth. He hath changed
sunset into sunrise, and through the cross brought death to life; and having
wrenched man from destruction, He hath raised him to the skies,
transplanting mortality into immortality, and translating earth to heaven
— He, the husbandman of God,
“Pointing out the favorable signs and rousing the nations
To good works, putting them in mind of the true sustenance;”

having bestowed on us the truly great, divine, and inalienable inheritance of
the Father, deifying man by heavenly teaching, putting His laws into our
minds, and writing them on our hearts. What laws does He inscribe? “That
all shall know God, from small to great;” and, “I will be merciful to them,”
says God, “and will not remember their sins.” Let us receive the laws of
life, let us comply with God’s expostulations; let us become acquainted
with Him, that He may be gracious. And though God needs nothing let us
render to Him the grateful recompense of a thankful heart and of piety, as
a kind of house-rent for our dwelling here below.
“Gold for brass,
A hundred oxen’s worth for that of nine;”

that is, for your little faith He gives you the earth of so great extent to till,
water to drink and also to sail on, air to breathe, fire to do your work, a
world to dwell in; and He has permitted you to conduct a colony from
here to heaven: with these important works of His hand, and benefits in
such numbers, He has rewarded your little faith. Then, those who have
put faith in necromancers, receive from them amulets and charms, to ward
off evil forsooth; and will you not allow the heavenly Word, the Savior, to
be bound on to you as an amulet, and, by trusting in God’s own charm, be
delivered from passions which are the diseases of the mind, and rescued
from sin? — for sin is eternal death. Surely utterly dull and blind, and, like
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moles, doing nothing but eat, you spend your lives in darkness,
surrounded with corruption. But it is truth which cries, “The light shall
shine forth from the darkness.” Let the light then shine in the hidden part
of man, that is, the heart; and let the beams of knowledge arise to reveal
and irradiate the hidden inner man, the disciple of the Light, the familiar
friend and fellow-heir of Christ; especially now that we have come to
know the most precious and venerable name of the good Father, who to a
pious and good child gives gentle counsels, and commands what is salutary
for His child. He who obeys Him has the advantage in all things, follows
God, obeys the Father, knows Him through wandering, loves God, loves
his neighbor, fulfills the commandment, seeks the prize, claims the
promise. But it has been God’s fixed and constant purpose to save the
flock of men: for this end the good God sent the good Shepherd. And the
Word, having unfolded the truth, showed to men the height of salvation,
that either repenting they might be saved, or refusing to obey, they might
be judged. This is the proclamation of righteousness: to those that obey,
glad tidings; to those that disobey, judgment. The loud trumpet, when
sounded, collects the soldiers, and proclaims war. And shall not Christ,
breathing a strain of peace to the ends of the earth, gather together His
own soldiers, the soldiers of peace? Well, by His blood, and by the word,
He has gathered the bloodless host of peace, and assigned to them the
kingdom of heaven. The trumpet of Christ is His Gospel. He hath blown
it, and we have heard. “Let us array ourselves in the armor of peace,
putting on the breastplate of righteousness, and taking the shield of faith,
and binding our brows with the helmet, of salvation; and the sword of the
Spirit, which is the word of God,” let us sharpen. So the apostle in the
spirit of peace commands. These are our invulnerable weapons: armed
with these, let us face the evil one; “the fiery darts of the evil one” let us
quench with the sword-points dipped in water, that, have been baptized
by the Word, returning grateful thanks for the benefits we have received,
and honoring God through the Divine Word. “For while thou art yet
speaking,” it is said, “He will say, Behold, I am beside thee.” O this holy
and blessed power, by which God has fellowship with men! Better far,
then, is it to become at once the imitator and the servant of the best of all
beings; for only by holy service will any one be able to imitate God, and to
serve and worship Him only by imitating Him. The heavenly and truly
divine love comes to men thus, when in the soul itself the spark of true
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goodness, kindled in the soul by the Divine Word, is able to burst forth
into flame; and, what is of the highest importance, salvation runs parallel
with sincere willingness — choice and life being, so to speak, yoked
together. Wherefore this exhortation of the truth alone, like the most
faithful of our friends, abides with us till our last breath, and is to the
whole and perfect spirit of the soul the kind attendant on our ascent to
heaven. What, then, is the exhortation I give you? I urge you to be saved.
This Christ desires. In one word He freely bestows life on you. And who
is He? Briefly learn. The Word of truth, the Word of incorruption, that
regenerates man by bringing him back to the truth — the goad that urges to
salvation — He who expels destruction and pursues death — He who
builds up the temple of God in men, that He may cause God to take up
His abode in men. Cleanse the temple; and pleasures and amusements
abandon to the winds and the fire, as a fading flower; but wisely cultivate
the fruits of self-command, and present thyself to God as an offering of
first-fruits, that there may be not the work alone, but also the grace of
God; and both are requisite, that the friend of Christ may be rendered
worthy of the kingdom, and be counted worthy of the kingdom.

CHAPTER 12

EXHORTATION TO ABANDON THEIR OLD ERRORS
AND LISTEN TO THE INSTRUCTIONS OF CHRIST
Let us then avoid custom as we would a dangerous headland, or the
threatening Charybdis, or the mythic sirens. It chokes man, turns him
away from truth, leads him away from life: custom is a snare, a gulf, a pit,
a mischievous winnowing fan.
“Urge the ship beyond that smoke and billow.”

Let us shun, fellow-mariners, let us shun this billow; it vomits forth fire: it
is a wicked island, heaped with bones and corpses, and in it sings a fair
courtesan, Pleasure, delighting with music for the common ear.
“Hie thee hither, far-famed Ulysses, great glory of the Achaeans;
Moor the ship, that thou mayest hear a diviner voice.”
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She praises thee, O mariner, and calls thee illustrious; and the courtesan
tries to win to herself the glory of the Greeks. Leave her to prey on the
dead; a heavenly spirit comes to thy help: pass by Pleasure, she beguiles.
“Let not a woman with flowing train cheat you of your senses,
With her flattering prattle seeking your hurt.”

Sail past the song; it works death. Exert your will only, and you have
overcome ruin; bound to the wood of the cross, thou shalt be freed from
destruction: the word of God will be thy pilot, and the Holy Spirit will
bring thee to anchor in the haven of heaven. Then shalt thou see my God,
and be initiated into the sacred mysteries, and come to the fruition of those
things which are laid up in heaven reserved for me, which “ear hath not
heard, nor have they entered into the heart of any.”
“And in sooth methinks I see two suns,
And a double Thebes,”

said one frenzy-stricken in the worship of idols, intoxicated with mere
ignorance. I would pity him in his frantic intoxication, and thus frantic I
would invite him to the sobriety of salvation; for the Lord welcomes a
sinner’s repentance, and not his death.
Come, O madman, not leaning on the thyrsus, not crowned with ivy;
throw away the miter, throw away the fawn-skin; come to thy senses. I
will show thee the Word, and the mysteries of the Word, expounding them
after thine own fashion. This is the mountain beloved of God, not the
subject of tragedies like Cithaeron, but consecrated to dramas of the truth,
— a mount of sobriety, shaded with forests of purity; and there revel on it
not the Maenades, the sisters of Semele, who was struck by the
thunderbolt, practicing in their initiatory rites unholy division of flesh, but
the daughters of God, the fair lambs, who celebrate the holy rites of the
Word, raising a sober choral dance. The righteous are the chorus; the music
is a hymn of the King of the universe. The maidens strike the lyre, the
angels praise, the prophets speak; the sound of music issues forth, they
run and pursue the jubilant band; those that are called make haste, eagerly
desiring to receive the Father.
Come thou also, O aged man, leaving Thebes, and casting away from thee
both divination and Bacchic frenzy, allow thyself to be led to the truth. I
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give thee the staff [of the cross] on which to lean. Haste, Tiresias; believe,
and thou wilt see. Christ, by whom the eyes of the blind recover sight, will
shed on thee a light brighter than the sun; night will flee from thee, fire will
fear, death will be gone; thou, old man, who saw not Thebes, shalt see the
heavens. O truly sacred mysteries! O stainless light! My way is lighted
with torches, and I survey the heavens and God; I become holy whilst I
am initiated. The Lord is the hierophant, and seals while illuminating him
who is initiated, and presents to the Father him who believes, to be kept
safe for ever. Such are the reveries of my mysteries. If it is thy wish, be
thou also initiated; and thou shalt join the choir along with angels around
the unbegotten and indestructible and the only true God, the Word of God,
raising the hymn with us. This Jesus, who is eternal, the one great High
Priest of the one God, and of His Father, prays for and exhorts men.
“Hear, ye myriad tribes, rather whoever among men are endowed with
reason, both barbarians and Greeks. I call on the whole race of men, whose
Creator I am, by the will of the Father. Come to Me, that you may be put
in your due rank under the one God and the one Word of God; and do not
only have the advantage of the irrational creatures in the possession of
reason; for to you of all mortals I grant the enjoyment of immortality. For
I want, I want to impart to you this grace, bestowing on you the perfect
boon of immortality; and I confer on you both the Word and the
knowledge of God, My complete self. This am I, this God wills, this is
symphony, this the harmony of the Father, this is the Son, this is Christ,
this the Word of God, the arm of the Lord, the power of the universe, the
will of the Father; of which things there were images of old, but not all
adequate. I desire to restore you according to the original model, that ye
may become also like Me. I anoint you with the ungent of faith, by which
you throw off corruption, and show you the naked form of righteousness
by which you ascend to God. Come to Me, all ye that labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls. For
My yoke is easy, and My burden light.”
Let us haste, let us run, my fellowmen — us, who are God-loving and
God-like images of the Word. Let us haste, let us run, let us take His yoke,
let us receive, to conduct us to immortality, the good charioteer of men.
Let us love Christ. He led the colt with its parent; and having yoked the
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team of humanity to God, directs His chariot to immortality, hastening
clearly to fulfill, by driving now into heaven, what He shadowed forth
before by riding into Jerusalem. A spectacle most beautiful to the Father is
the eternal Son crowned with victory. Let us aspire, then, after what is
good; let us become God-loving men, and obtain the greatest of all things
which are incapable of being harmed — God and life. Our helper is the
Word; let us put confidence in Him; and never let us be visited with such a
craving for silver and gold, and glory, as for the Word of truth Himself. For
it will not, it will not be pleasing to God Himself if we value least those
things which are worth most, and hold in the highest estimation the
manifest enormities and the utter impiety of folly, and ignorance, and
thoughtlessness, and idolatry. For not improperly the sons of the
philosophers consider that the foolish are guilty of profanity and impiety
in whatever they do; and describing ignorance itself as a species of
madness, allege that the multitude are nothing but madmen. There is
therefore no room to doubt, the Word will say, whether it is better to be
sane or insane; but holding on to truth with our teeth, we must with all our
might follow God, and in the exercise of wisdom regard all things to be, as
they are, His; and besides, having learned that we are the most excellent of
His possessions, let us commit ourselves to God, loving the Lord God,
and regarding this as our business all our life long. And if what belongs to
friends be reckoned common property, and man be the friend of God —
for through the mediation of the Word has he been made the friend of God
— then accordingly all things become man’s, because all things are God’s,
and the common property of both the friends, God and man.
It is time, then, for us to say that the pious Christian alone is rich and
wise, and of noble birth, and thus call and believe him to be God’s image,
and also His likeness, having become righteous and holy and wise by Jesus
Christ, and so far already like God. Accordingly this grace is indicated by
the prophet, when he says, “I said that ye are gods, and all sons of the
Highest.” For us, yea us, He has adopted, and wishes to be called the
Father of us alone, not of the unbelieving. Such is then our position who
are the attendants of Christ.
“As are men’s wishes, so are their words;
As are their words, so are their deeds;
And as their works, such is their life.”
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Good is the whole life of those who have known Christ.
Enough, methinks, of words, though, impelled by love to man, I might
have gone on to pour out what I had from God, that I might exhort to what
is the greatest of blessings — salvation. For discourses concerning the life
which has no end, are not readily brought to the end of their disclosures.
To you still remains this conclusion, to choose which will profit you most
— judgment or grace. For I do not think there is even room for doubt
which of these is the better; nor is it allowable to compare life with
destruction.
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THE INSTRUCTOR
[PAEDAGOGUS]

BOOK 1
CHAPTER 1

THE OFFICE OF THE INSTRUCTOR
As there are these three things in the case of man, habits, actions, and
passions; habits are the department appropriated by hortatory discourse
the guide to piety, which, like the ship’s keel, is laid beneath for the
building up of faith; in which, rejoicing exceedingly, and abjuring our old
opinions, through salvation we renew our youth, singing with the hymning
prophecy, “How good is God to Israel, to such as are upright in heart!”
All actions, again, are the province of preceptive discourse; while
persuasive discourse applies itself to heal the passions. It is, however, one
and the self-same word which rescues man from the custom of this world
in which he has been reared, and trains him up in the one salvation of faith
in God.
When, then, the heavenly guide, the Word, was inviting men to salvation,
the appellation of hortatory was properly applied to Him: his same word
was called rousing (the whole from a part). For the whole of piety is
hortatory, engendering in the kindred faculty of reason a yearning after
true life now and to come. But now, being at once curative and preceptive,
following in His own steps, He makes what had been prescribed the
subject of persuasion, promising the cure of the passions within us. Let us
then designate this Word appropriately by the one name Tutor (or
Paedagogue, or Instructor).
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The Instructor being practical, not theoretical, His aim is thus to improve
the soul, not to teach, and to train it up to a virtuous, not to an intellectual
life. Although this same word is didactic, but not in the present instance.
For the word which, in matters of doctrine, explains and reveals, is that
whose province it is to teach. But our Educator being practical, first
exhorts to the attainment of right dispositions and character, and then
persuades us to the energetic practice of our duties, enjoining on us pure
commandments, and exhibiting to such as come after representations of
those who formerly wandered in error. Both are of the highest utility, —
that which assumes the form of counseling to obedience, and that which is
presented in the form of example; which latter is of two kinds,
corresponding to the former duality, — the one having for its purpose that
we should choose and imitate the good, and the other that we should reject
and turn away from the opposite.
Hence accordingly ensues the healing of our passions, in consequence of
the assuagements of those examples; the Paedagogue strengthening our
souls, and by His benign commands, as by gentle medicines, guiding the
sick to the perfect knowledge of the truth.
There is a wide difference between health and knowledge; for the latter is
produced by learning, the former by healing. One, who is ill, will not
therefore learn any branch of instruction till he is quite well. For neither to
learners nor to the sick is each injunction invariably expressed similarly;
but to the former in such a way as to lead to knowledge, and to the latter
to health. As, then, for those of us who are diseased in body a physician is
required, so also those who are diseased in soul require a paedagogue to
cure our maladies; and then a teacher, to train and guide the soul to all
requisite knowledge when it is made able to admit the revelation of the
Word. Eagerly desiring, then, to perfect us by a gradation conducive to
salvation, suited for efficacious discipline, a beautiful arrangement is
observed by the all-benignant Word, who first exhorts, then trains, and
finally teaches.
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CHAPTER 2

OUR INSTRUCTOR’S TREATMENT OF OUR SINS
Now, O you, my children, our Instructor is like His Father God, whose
son He is, sinless, blameless, and with a soul devoid of passion; God in the
form of man, stainless, the minister of His Father’s will, the Word who is
God, who is in the Father, who is at the Father’s right hand, and with the
form of God is God. He is to us a spotless image; to Him we are to try
with all our might to assimilate our souls. He is wholly free from human
passions; wherefore also He alone is judge, because He alone is sinless. As
far, however, as we can, let us try to sin as little as possible. For nothing is
so urgent in the first place as deliverance from passions and disorders, and
then the checking of our liability to fall into sins that have become
habitual. It is best, therefore, not to sin at all in any way, which we assert
to be the prerogative of God alone; next to keep clear of voluntary
transgressions, which is characteristic of the wise man; thirdly, not to fall
into many involuntary offenses, which is peculiar to those who have been
excellently trained. Not to continue long in sins, let that be ranked last. But
this also is salutary to those who are called back to repentance, to renew
the contest.
And the Instructor, as I think, very beautifully says, through Moses: “If
any one die suddenly by him, straightway the head of his consecration
shall be polluted, and shall be shaved,” designating involuntary sin as
sudden death. And He says that it pollutes by defiling the soul: wherefore
He prescribes the cure with all speed, advising the head to be instantly
shaven; that is, counseling the locks of ignorance which shade the reason to
be shorn clean off, that reason (whose seat is in the brain), being left bare
of the dense stuff of vice, may speed its way to repentance. Then after a
few remarks He adds, “The days before are not reckoned irrational,” by
which manifestly sins are meant which are contrary to reason. The
involuntary act He calls “sudden,” the sin He calls “irrational.” Wherefore
the Word, the Instructor, has taken the charge of us, in order to the
prevention of sin, which is contrary to reason.
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Hence consider the expression of Scripture, “Therefore these things saith
the Lord;” the sin that had been committed before is held up to
reprobation by the succeeding expression “therefore,” according to which
the righteous judgment follows. This is shown conspicuously by the
prophets, when they said, “Hadst thou not sinned, He would not have
uttered these threatenings.” “Therefore thus saith the Lord; “Because thou
hast not heard these words, therefore these things the Lord;” and,
“Therefore, behold, the Lord saith.” For prophecy is given by reason both
of obedience and disobedience: for obedience, that we may be saved; for
disobedience, that we may be corrected.
Our Instructor, the Word, therefore cures the unnatural passions of the
soul by means of exhortations. For with the highest propriety the help of
bodily diseases is called the healing art — an art acquired by human skill.
But the paternal Word is the only Paeonian physician of human
infirmities, and the holy charmer of the sick soul. “Save,” it is said, “Thy
servant, O my God, who trusteth in Thee. Pity me, O Lord; for I will cry
to Thee all the day.” For a while the “physician’s art,” according to
Democritus, “heals the diseases of the body; wisdom frees the soul from
passion.” But the good Instructor, the Wisdom, the Word of the Father,
who made man, cares for the whole nature of His creature; the all-
sufficient Physician of humanity, the Savior, heals both body and soul.
“Rise up,” He said to the paralytic; “take the bed on which thou liest, and
go away home;” and straightway the infirm man received strength. And to
the dead He said, “Lazarus, go forth;” and the dead man issued from his
coffin such as he was ere he died, having undergone resurrection. Further,
He heals the soul itself by precepts and gifts — by precepts indeed, in
course of time, but being liberal in His gifts, He says to us sinners, “Thy
sins be forgiven thee.”
We, however, as soon as He conceived the thought, became His children,
having had assigned us the best and most secure rank by His orderly
arrangement, which first circles about the world, the heavens, and the
sun’s circuits, and occupies itself with the motions of the rest of the stars
for man’s behoof, and then busies itself with man himself, on whom all its
care is concentrated; and regarding him as its greatest work, regulated his
soul by wisdom and temperance, and tempered the body with beauty and
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proportion. And whatever in human actions is right and regular, is the
result of the inspiration of its rectitude and order.

CHAPTER 3

THE PHILANTHROPY OF THE INSTRUCTOR
The Lord ministers all good and all help, both as man and as God: as God,
forgiving our sins; and as man, training us not to sin. Man is therefore
justly dear to God, since he is His workmanship. The other works of
creation He made by the word of command alone, but man He framed by
Himself, by His own hand, and breathed into him what was peculiar to
Himself. What, then, was fashioned by Him, and after His likeness, either
was created by God Himself as being desirable on its own account, or was
formed as being desirable on account of something else. ‘If, then, man is an
object desirable for itself, then He who is good loved what is good, and the
love-charm is within even in man, and is that very thing which is called the
inspiration [or breath] of God; but if man was a desirable object on
account of something else, God had no other reason for creating him, than
that unless he came into being, it was not possible for God to be a good
Creator, or for man to arrive at the knowledge of God. For God would not
have accomplished that on account of which man was created otherwise
than by the creation of man; and what hidden power in willing God
possessed, He carried fully out by the forth-putting of His might
externally in the act of creating, receiving from man what He made man;
and whom He had He saw, and what He wished that came to pass; and
there is nothing which God cannot do. Man, then, whom God made, is
desirable for himself, and that which is desirable on his account is allied to
him to whom it is desirable on his account; and this, too, is acceptable and
liked.
But what is lovable, and is not also loved by Him? And man has been
proved to be lovable; consequently man is loved by God. For how shall he
not be loved for whose sake the only-begotten Son is sent from the
Father’s bosom, the Word of faith, the faith which is superabundant; the
Lord Himself distinctly confessing and saying, “For the Father Himself
loveth you, because ye have loved Me;” and again, “And hast loved them
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as Thou hast loved Me?” What, then, the Master desires and declares, and
how He is disposed in deed and word, how He commands what is to be
done, and forbids the opposite, has already been shown.
Plainly, then, the other kind of discourse, the didactic, is powerful and
spiritual, observing precision, occupied in the contemplation of mysteries.
But let it stand over for the present. Now, it is incumbent on us to return
His love, who lovingly guides us to that life which is best; and to live in
accordance with the injunctions of His will, not only fulfilling what is
commanded, or guarding against what is forbidden, but turning away from
some examples, and imitating others as much as we can, and thus to
perform the works of the Master according to His similitude, and so fulfill
what Scripture says as to our being made in His image and likeness. For,
wandering in life as in deep darkness, we need a guide that cannot stumble
or stray; and our guide is the best, not blind, as the Scripture says,
“leading the blind into pits.” But the Word is keen-sighted, and scans the
recesses of the heart. As, then, that is not light which enlightens not, nor
motion that moves not, nor loving which loves not, so neither is that good
which profits not, nor guides to salvation. Let us then aim at the
fulfillment of the commandments by the works of the Lord; for the Word
Himself also, having openly become flesh, exhibited the same virtue, both
practical and contemplative. Wherefore let us regard the Word as law, and
His commands and counsels as the short and straight paths to immortality;
for His precepts are full of persuasion, not of fear.

CHAPTER 4

MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE UNDER
THE INSTRUCTOR’S CHARGE
Let us, then, embracing more and more this good obedience, give ourselves
to the Lord; clinging to what is surest, the cable of faith in Him, and
understanding that the virtue of man and woman is the same. For if the
God of both is one, the master of both is also one; one church, one
temperance, one modesty; their food is common, marriage an equal yoke;
respiration, sight, hearing, knowledge, hope, obedience, love all alike. And
those whose life is common, have common graces and a common salvation;
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common to them are love and training. “For in this world,” he says, “they
marry, and are given in marriage,” in which alone the female is
distinguished from the male; “but in that world it is so no more.” There the
rewards of this social and holy life, which is based on conjugal union, are
laid up, not for male and female, but for man, the sexual desire which
divides humanity being removed. Common therefore, too, to men and
women, is the name of man. For this reason I think the Attics called, not
boys only, but girls, paida>rion, using it as a word of common gender; if
Menander the comic poet, in Rhapizomena, appears to any one a
sufficient authority, who thus speaks: —
“My little daughter; for by nature
The child (paida>rion) is most loving.”

Arnev, too, the word for lambs, is a common name of simplicity for the
male and female animal.
Now the Lord Himself will feed us as His flock forever. Amen. But
without a shepherd, neither can sheep nor any other animal live, nor
children without a tutor, nor domestics without a master.

CHAPTER 5

ALL WHO WALK ACCORDING
TO TRUTH ARE CHILDREN OF GOD
That, then, Paedagogy is the training of children (pai>dwn ajgwgh>), is clear
from the word itself. It remains for us to consider the children whom
Scripture points to; then to give the paedagogue charge of them. We are the
children. In many ways Scripture celebrates us, and describes us in
manifold figures of speech, giving variety to the simplicity of the faith by
diverse names Accordingly, in the Gospel, “the Lord, standing on the
shore, says to the disciples” — they happened to be fishing — “and called
aloud, Children, have ye any meat?” — addressing those that were already
in the position of disciples as children. “And they brought to Him,” it is
said, “children, that He might put His hands on them and bless them; and
when His disciples hindered them, Jesus said, Suffer the children, and
forbid them not to come to Me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
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What the expression means the Lord Himself shall declare, saying, “Except
ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the
kingdom of heaven; “ not in that place speaking figuratively of
regeneration, but setting before us, for our imitation, the simplicity that is
in children.
The prophetic spirit also distinguishes us as children. “Plucking,” it is
said, “branches of olives or palms, the children went forth to meet the
Lord, and cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that
cometh in the name of the Lord;” light, and glory, and praise, with
supplication to the Lord: for this is the meaning of the expression Hosanna
when rendered in Greek. And the Scripture appears to me, in allusion to
the prophecy just mentioned, reproachfully to upbraid the thoughtless:
“Have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast
perfected praise?” In this way the Lord in the Gospels spurs on His
disciples, urging them to attend to Him, hastening as He was to the Father;
rendering His hearers more eager by the intimation that after a little He
was to depart, and showing them that it was requisite that they should
take more unsparing advantage of the truth than ever before, as the Word
was to ascend to heaven. Again, therefore, He calls them children; for He
says, “Children, a little while I am with you.” And, again, He likens the
kingdom of heaven to children sitting in the market-places and saying, “We
have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned, and ye
have not lamented;” and whatever else He added agreeably thereto. And it
is not alone the Gospel that holds these sentiments. Prophecy also agrees
with it. David accordingly says, “Praise, O children, the LORD; praise the
name of the LORD.” It says also by Esaias, “Here am I, and the children
that God hath given me.” Are you amazed, then, to hear that men who
belong to the nations are sons in the Lord’s sight? You do not in that case
appear to give ear to the Attic dialect, from which you may learn that
beautiful, comely, and freeborn young maidens are still called paidi>skai,
and servant-girls paidiska>ria; and that those last also are, on account of
the bloom of youth, called by the flattering name of young maidens.
And when He says, “Let my lambs stand on my right,” He alludes to the
simple children, as if they were sheep and lambs in nature, not men; and
the lambs He counts worthy of preference, from the superior regard He
has to that tenderness and simplicity of disposition in men which
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constitutes innocence. Again, when He says, “as suckling calves,” He again
alludes figuratively to us; and “as an innocent and gentle dove,” the
reference is again to us. Again, by Moses, He commands “two young
pigeons or a pair of turtles to be offered for sin;” thus saying, that the
harmlessness and innocence and placable nature of these tender young
birds are acceptable to God, and explaining that like is an expiation for like.
Further, the timorousness of the turtle-doves typifies fear in reference to
sin.
And that He calls us chickens the Scripture testifies: “As a hen gathereth
her chickens under her wings.” Thus are we the Lord’s chickens; the Word
thus marvelously and mystically describing the simplicity of childhood.
For sometimes He calls us children, sometimes chickens, sometimes
infants, and at other times sons, and “a new people,” and “a recent
people.” “And my servants shall be called by a new name” (a new name,
He says, fresh and eternal, pure and simple, and childlike and true), which
shall be blessed on the earth. And again, He figuratively calls us colts
unyoked to vice, not broken in by wickedness; but simple, and bounding
joyously to the Father alone; not such horses “as neigh after their
neighbors’ wives, that are under the yoke, and are female-mad;” but free
and new-born, jubilant by means of faith, ready to run to the truth, swift
to speed to salvation, that tread and stamp under foot the things of the
world.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; tell aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem:
behold, thy King cometh, just, meek, and bringing salvation; meek truly is
He, and riding on a beast of burden, and a young colt.” It was not enough
to have said colt alone, but He added to it also young, to show the youth
of humanity in Christ, and the eternity of simplicity, which shall know no
old age. And we who are little ones being such colts, are reared up by our
divine colt-tamer. But if the new man in Scripture is represented by the
ass, this ass is also a colt. “And he bound,” it is said, “the colt to the
vine,” having bound this simple and childlike people to the word, whom
He figuratively represents as a vine. For the vine produces wine, as the
Word produces blood, and both drink for health to men — wine for the
body, blood for the spirit.
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And that He also calls us lambs, the Spirit by the mouth of Isaiah is an
unimpeachable witness: “He will feed His flock like a shepherd, He will
gather the lambs with His arm,” — using the figurative appellation of
lambs, which are still more tender than sheep, to express simplicity. And
we also in truth, honoring the fairest and most perfect objects in life with
an appellation derived from the word child, have named training paidei>a
and discipline (paidagwgi>a). Discipline (paidagwgi>a) we declare to be
right guiding from childhood to virtue. Accordingly, our Lord revealed
more distinctly to us what is signified by the appellation of children. On
the question arising among the apostles, “which of them should be the
greater,” Jesus placed a little child in the midst, saying, “Whosoever, shall
humble himself as this little child, the same shall be the greater in the
kingdom of heaven.” He does not then use the appellation of children on
account of their very limited amount of understanding from their age, as
some have thought. Nor, if He says, “Except ye become as these children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of God,” are His words to be
understood as meaning “without learning.” We, then, who are infants, no
longer roll on the ground, nor creep on the earth like serpents as before,
crawling with the whole body about senseless lusts; but, stretching
upwards in soul, loosed from the world and our sins, touching the earth on
tiptoe so as to appear to be in the world, we pursue holy wisdom,
although this seems folly to those whose wits are whetted for wickedness.
Rightly, then, are those called children who know Him who is God alone
as their Father, who are simple, and infants, and guileless, who are lovers
of the horns of the unicorns.
To those, therefore, that have made progress in the word, He has
proclaimed this utterance, bidding them dismiss anxious care of the things
of this world, and exhorting them to adhere to the Father alone, in
imitation of children. Wherefore also in what follows He says: “Take no
anxious thought for the morrow; sufficient unto the day is the evil
thereof.” Thus He enjoins them to lay aside the cares of this life, and
depend on the Father alone. And he who fulfills this commandment is in
reality a child and a son to God and to the world, — to the one as
deceived, to the other as beloved. And if we have one Master in heaven, as
the Scripture says, then by common consent those on the earth will be
rightly called disciples. For so is the truth, that perfection is with the
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Lord, who is always teaching, and infancy and childishness with us, who
are always learning. Thus prophecy hath honored perfection, by applying
to it the appellation man. For instance, by David, He says of the devil:
“The LORD abhors the man of blood;” he calls him man, as perfect in
wickedness. And the Lord is called man, because He is perfect in
righteousness. Directly in point is the instance of the apostle, who says,
writing the Corinthians: “For I have espoused you to one man, that I may
present you as a chaste virgin to Christ,” whether as children or saints, but
to the Lord alone. And writing to the Ephesians, he has unfolded in the
clearest manner the point in question, speaking to the following effect:
“Till we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of God,
to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
that we be no longer children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine,
by the craft of men, by their cunning in stratagems of deceit; but, speaking
the truth in love, may grow up to Him in all things,” — saying these things
in order to the edification of the body of Christ, who is the head and man,
the only one perfect in righteousness; and we who are children guarding
against the blasts of heresies, which blow to our inflation; and not putting
our trust in fathers who teach us otherwise, are then made perfect when
we are the church, having received Christ the head. Then it is right to
notice, with respect to the appellation of infant (nh>piov), that to< nh>pion
is not predicated of the silly: for the silly man is called nhpu>tiov: and
nh>piov is neh>piov (since he that is tender-hearted is called h]piov), as
being one that has newly become gentle and meek in conduct. This the
blessed Paul most clearly pointed out when he said, “When we might have
been burdensome as the apostles of Christ, we were gentle (h]pioi) among
you, as a nurse cherisheth her children.” The child (nh>piov) is therefore
gentle (h]piov), and therefore more tender, delicate, and simple, guileless,
and destitute of hypocrisy, straightforward and upright in mind, which is
the basis of simplicity and truth. For He says, “Upon whom shall I look,
but upon him who is gentle and quiet?” For such is the virgin speech,
tender, and free of fraud; whence also a virgin is wont to be called “a
tender bride,” and a child “tender-hearted.” And we are tender who are
pliant to the power of persuasion, and are easily drawn to goodness, and
are mild, and free of the stain of malice and perverseness, for the ancient
race was perverse and hard-hearted; but the band of infants, the new
people which we are, as delicate as a child. On account of the hearts of the
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innocent, the apostle, in the Epistle to the Romans, owns that he rejoices,
and furnishes a kind of definition of children, so to speak, when he says,
“I would have you wise toward good, but simple towards evil.” For the
name of child, nh>piov, is not understood by us privatively, though the
sons of the grammarians make the nh a privative particle. For if they call
us who follow after childhood foolish, see how they utter blasphemy
against the Lord, in regarding those as foolish who have betaken
themselves to God. But if, which is rather the true sense, they themselves
understand the designation children of simple ones, we glory in the name.
For the new minds, which have newly become wise, which have sprung
into being according to the new covenant, are infantile in the old folly. Of
late, then, God was known by the coming of Christ: “For no man knoweth
God but the Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal Him.”
In contradistinction, therefore, to the older people, the new people are
called young, having learned the new blessings; and we have the exuberance
of life’s morning prime in this youth which knows no old age, in which we
are always growing to maturity in intelligence, are always young, always
mild, always new: for those must necessarily be new, who have become
partakers of the new Word. And that which participates in eternity is
wont to be assimilated to the incorruptible: so that to us appertains the
designation of the age of childhood, a lifelong spring-time, because the
truth that is in us, and our habits saturated with the truth, cannot be
touched by old age; but Wisdom is ever blooming, ever remains consistent
and the same, and never changes. “Their children,” it is said, “shall be
borne upon their shoulders, and fondled on their knees; as one whom his
mother comforteth, so also shall I comfort you.” The mother draws the
children to herself; and we seek our mother the Church. Whatever is feeble
and tender, as needing help on account of its feebleness, is kindly looked
on, and is sweet and pleasant, anger changing into help in the case of such:
for thus horses’ colts, and the little calves of cows, and the lion’s whelp,
and the stag’s fawn, and the child of man, are looked upon with pleasure
by their fathers and mothers. Thus also the Father of the universe
cherishes affection towards those who have fled to Him; and having
begotten them again by His Spirit to the adoption of children, knows them
as gentle, and loves those alone, and aids and fights for them; and therefore
He bestows on them the name of child. The word Isaac I also connect with
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child. Isaac means laughter. He was seen sporting with his wife and
helpmeet Rebecca by the prying king. The king, whose name was
Abimelech, appears to me to represent a supramundane wisdom
contemplating the mystery of sport. They interpret Rebecca to mean
endurance. O wise sport, laughter also assisted by endurance, and the king
as spectator! The spirit of those that are children in Christ, whose lives are
ordered in endurance, rejoice. And this is the divine sport. “Such a sport,
of his own, Jove sports,” says Heraclitus. For what other employment is
seemly for a wise and perfect man, than to sport and be glad in the
endurance of what is good — and, in the administration of what is good,
holding festival with God? That which is signified by the prophet may be
interpreted differently, namely, of our rejoicing for salvation, as Isaac. He
also, delivered from death, laughed, sporting and rejoicing with his spouse,
who was the type of the Helper of our salvation, the Church, to whom the
stable name of endurance is given; for this cause surely, because she alone
remains to all generations, rejoicing ever, subsisting as she does by the
endurance of us believers, who are the members of Christ. And the witness
of those that have endured to the end, and the rejoicing on their account, is
the mystic sport, and the salvation accompanied with decorous solace
which brings us aid.
The King, then, who is Christ, beholds from above our laughter, and
looking through the window, as the Scripture says, views the thanksgiving,
and the blessing, and the rejoicing, and the gladness, and furthermore the
endurance which works together with them and their embrace: views His
Church, showing only His face, which was wanting to the Church, which
is made perfect by her royal Head. And where, then, was the door by
which the Lord showed Himself? The flesh by which He was manifested.
He is Isaac (for the narrative may be interpreted otherwise), who is a type
of the Lord, a child as a son; for he was the son of Abraham, as Christ the
Son of God, and a sacrifice as the Lord, but he was not immolated as the
Lord. Isaac only bore the wood of the sacrifice, as the Lord the wood of
the cross. And he laughed mystically, prophesying that the Lord should
fill us with joy, who have been redeemed from corruption by the blood of
the Lord. Isaac did everything but suffer, as was right, yielding the
precedence in suffering to the Word. Furthermore, there is an intimation of
the divinity of the Lord in His not being slain. For Jesus rose again after
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His burial, having suffered no harm, like Isaac released from sacrifice. And
in defense of the point to be established, I shall adduce another
consideration of the greatest weight. The Spirit calls the Lord Himself a
child, thus prophesying by Esaias: “Lo, to us a child has been born, to us a
son has been given, on whose own shoulder the government shall be; and
His name has been called the Angel of great Counsel.” Who, then, is this
infant child? He according to whose image we are made little children. By
the same prophet is declared His greatness: “Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace; that He might fulfill His
discipline: and of His peace there shall be no end.” O the great God! O the
perfect child! The Son in the Father, and the Father in the Son. And how
shall not the discipline of this child be perfect, which extends to all, leading
as a schoolmaster us as children who are His little ones? He has stretched
forth to us those hands of His that are conspicuously worthy of trust. To
this child additional testimony is borne by John, “the greatest prophet
among those born of women:” Behold the Lamb of God!” For since
Scripture calls the infant children lambs, it has also called Him — God the
Word — who became man for our sakes, and who wished in all points to
be made like to us — “the Lamb of God” — Him, namely, that is the Son
of God, the child of the Father.

CHAPTER 6

THE NAME CHILDREN DOES NOT IMPLY
INSTRUCTION IN ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES
We have ample means of encountering those who are given to carping. For
we are not termed children and infants with reference to the childish and
contemptible character of our education, as those who are inflated on
account of knowledge have calumniously alleged. Straightway, on our
regeneration, we attained that perfection after which we aspired. For we
were illuminated, which is to know God. He is not then imperfect who
knows what is perfect. And do not reprehend me when I profess to know
God; for so it was deemed right to speak to the Word, and He is free. For
at the moment of the Lord’s baptism there sounded a voice from heaven,
as a testimony to the Beloved, “Thou art My beloved Son, today have I
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begotten Thee.” Let us then ask the wise, Is Christ, begotten today,
already perfect, or — what were most monstrous — imperfect? If the
latter, there is some addition He requires yet to make. But for Him to
make any addition to His knowledge is absurd, since He is God. For none
can be superior to the Word, or the teacher of the only Teacher. Will they
not then own, though reluctant, that the perfect Word born of the perfect
Father was begotten in perfection, according to economic fore-ordination?
And if He was perfect, why was He, the perfect one, baptized? It was
necessary, they say, to fulfill the profession that pertained to humanity.
Most excellent. Well, I assert, simultaneously with His baptism by John,
He becomes perfect? Manifestly. He did not then learn anything more
from him? Certainly not. But He is perfected by the washing — of
baptism — alone, and is sanctified by the descent of the Spirit? Such is the
case. The same also takes place in our case, whose exemplar Christ
became. Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons;
being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made
immortal. “I,” says He, “have said that ye are gods, and all sons of the
Highest.” This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and
perfection, and washing: washing, by which we cleanse away our sins;
grace, by which the penalties accruing to transgressions are remitted; and
illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by
which we see God clearly. Now we call that perfect which wants nothing.
For what is yet wanting to him who knows God? For it were truly
monstrous that that which is not complete should be called a gift (or act)
of God’s grace. Being perfect, He consequently bestows perfect gifts. As
at His command all things were made, so on His bare wishing to bestow
grace, ensues the perfecting of His grace. For the future of time is
anticipated by the power of His volition.
Further release from evils is the beginning of salvation. We then alone, who
first have touched the confines of life, are already perfect; and we already
live who are separated from death. Salvation, accordingly, is the following
of Christ: “For that which is in Him is life. ” Verily, verily, I say unto
you, He that heareth My words, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath
eternal life, and cometh not into condemnation, but hath passed from death
to life.” Thus believing alone, and regeneration, is perfection in life; for
God is never weak. For as His will is work, and this is named the world;
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so also His counsel is the salvation of men, and this has been called the
church. He knows, therefore, whom He has called, and whom He has
saved; and at one and the same time He called a